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Central Africa

Lake Kivu Transport Paralysed As Boat Owners Strike Over License Fees

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The Congolese government has increased operation license for all transport boats on Lake Kivu – a move that has paralysed business.

Ship-owners operating on Lake Kivu began a strike on Monday March 9, protesting against the increase in navigation license fees which increased from U$10 to U$50. According to these ship-owners, the increase in operating license fees is not justified.

Reports from across DRC indicate that on Monday, boats did not leave the ports of Goma and Bukavu disrupting the movement of people and goods.

“I came to go to Goma, no boat welcomed me, I have to go back to the house. I am thinking about how to take the Kamembe-Goma route, ”a young student from Goma was quoted by local media Actualite.

According to Prudent Mpama executive secretary ship-owners association on Lake Kivu, during a meeting between government and ship owners in March 2014, it was agreed to pay the permit at the rate of 10 dollars per trip instead of 30 dollars.

He was quoted by local media saying that during this meeting in 2014 the rate of the exit permit was increased to U$50 and the boat must pay an amount of U$100 round trip on Lake Kivu.

“We must reduce the tax rate for improving the business climate; we have found that we cannot continue to navigate since the public authorities have not yet responded to our demands. This is why we informed our passengers and our partners that there is no navigation on the lake from this Monday,” Adds Mpama.

The same strike affected transport on Lake Tanganyika- the boats which were to leave Uvira for Kalemie did not sail.

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