June 10, 2013

Beach management Officials Decry Neglect by Fisheries Ministry

They argue that access roads to most landing sites are in appalling state.
The State Minister for Fisheries, Ms Ruth Nankabirwa
The State Minister for Fisheries, Ms Ruth Nankabirwa

Beach Management Unit-BMU officials in Jinja district are accusing the Ministry of Fisheries of neglect.  The BMU officials argue that apart from existing in the law, government has neglected the infrastructure at landing sites. They argue that access roads to most landing sites are in appalling condition. They also argue that they are not facilitated by the ministry to carry out their work, which includes routine patrols on the lake to stop illegal fishing practices.

The BMU officials argue that despite collecting 25% of the money in permits, license and registration fees that are remitted to the ministry nothing is ploughed back to improve the landing sites. John Bosco Akela is the General Secretary Jinja district Beach Management Unit. He says the lack of facilitation has affected the revenue collection and the moral of many BMU officials.

Magid Magumba, the Chairman Jinja Beach Management Unit suggests that some money should be left at the district fisheries offices to cater for the day to day operations of fisheries affairs.

He says that about 50 million shillings is banked every month from the landing sites in Jinja but nothing has been done to improve them. Huzaifa Balyejusa, the Chairman Kisima I Beach Management Unit calls on the fisheries ministry to fund their activities instead of funding parallel fisheries enforcement officers. He says the money meant to benefit them has been lost due to the conflict with the parallel fisheries enforcement officials deployed by Ruth Nankabirwa, the fisheries minister.

Jackson Wadanya, the commissioner fisheries says the district fisheries department is allocated some operational funds. He however, says the money may not be sufficient to cover all the activities of Beach Management Units-BMU. Uganda has 355 BMU’s from 548 landing sites, with 64,130 registered BMU officials.

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