Kalangala Loses UGX 120M in Fishermen Strike

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In short
Wilberforce Kakooza, the District Finance Secretary, says that since the strike started a fortnight ago, the district has lost more than 120 million in form of taxes from the different landing sites in Kalangala District.

Kalangala District has lost 120 million shillings revenue due to a strike by fishermen.  


Last month fishermen announced a sit-down strike protesting against the ever decreasing prices of fish across the country. The fishermen unanimously parked their boats to allow government intervention in the matter.

Through their Organization, the Association of Fishers and Lake Users Association, the fishermen demanded that the government reigns on the fish exporting companies that have lowered the prices of Nile Perch from 12,000 to only 4,000 shillings a kilogram.   The strike led to the halting of all fishing activities.


Wilberforce Kakooza, the District Finance Secretary, says that since the strike started a fortnight ago, the district has lost more than 120 million in form of taxes from the different landing sites in Kalangala District.  


For instance, a landing site like Nkose where the district finance department would collect 28 million every month has not collected any money in the past two weeks.   Kakooza says the district is worried that if the strike goes on, several district activities will be grounded because they are funded by locally generated revenue.


Other sources of local revenue in Kalangala include charcoal and timber trading, trading licenses, and landing fees among others. However, these make only 20% of the local revenue collected by Kalangala District. Kalangala collects 720 million annually from local revenue. 


Kakooza wants the government to engage different stakeholders to ensure prices of fish are stable. 


"We earn 5% of each kilogram of fish sold. If fishermen decide to strike longer, that means we shall not be able to collect taxes from boats and fish yet it is our main source of income." He says.
  Currently, no fishing boats except fishermen engaged in the silverfish business are allowed to engage in any fishing activity on Lake Victoria. Other boats include cargo boats are not allowed to transport materials used in the fishing business including the transportation of fuel used by engines while fishing.   

Gerald Kalyango, a leader of fishermen at Mawaala Landing site, Mazinga Sub County says this has led to shortages in transportation, the availability of food and other fuel used in moving engines from one island to another. Kalyango also wants the pay for fishermen be increased by the different fishing boat owners.   

//Cue in: "Tuteese ku beeyi …
Cue out: … muntambula zaabyo."//   

The Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries Vincent Ssempijja told parliament earlier this week that the decrease in fish prices is a result of the forces of demand and supply.
He said that the increase in fish catches across Lake Victoria has led to the decrease in the prices since the buyers now have a lot more fish to export. 


Richard Kambugu, the chairperson of the Association of Fisher and Lake Users in Uganda (AFALU) says the sit-down strike will continue until government engages all stakeholders to increase the prices of each kilogram of Fish across the country.