The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) sitting in Kampala has passed the Vehicle Load Control (VLC) bill, 2012 into Law.
The law comes to reduce incidences of Vehicle overloading on the region’s road network in order to give the roads long life spans.
Before its enactment into law, the Vehicle Load Control bill was endorsed by Ministers responsible for Roads, Transport, Trade, East African Affairs and Judicial affairs at a multi-sectoral meeting in Nairobi, Kenya.
The VLC bill was before the EALA Committee on Communication, Trade and Investments, which carried out public hearings in all East African Partner States in order to come up with a report and recommendations.
The committee report received overwhelming support from EALA members that eventually saw the VLC bill passed into law.
According to the Chairperson of the Committee Angela Kizigha Charles, a member from Tanzania, the committee consulted with all stakeholders in the transport industry and they appreciated that the bill is a cornerstone for trade facilitation as it will eliminate major non-tariff barriers.
Kizigha noted that before coming up with a report on the bill, the Committee consulted with EAC secretariat, The Ministries of East African Community Affairs, Ministries of Trade and Infrastructures, Vehicle Inspection Departments, Bureau of Statistics, traders, clearing and forwarding agencies among others. The committee report recommended that all partner states should develop, upgrade, and modernize all the required infrastructural facilities and enhance technological advancement to enable efficient and effective implementation of the VLC law.
Daniel Kidega, a member from Uganda mentioned the poor state some of the East African roads are in, noting the road from Mombasa to Kigali which he said is in a very poor state and with this law, it will be improved.
Kidega added that the railway lines in the region should also be worked on appealing to the Council of Ministers not only to look at roads but also other means of transport in the region in order to enhance trade.
Hajabakiga Mugorenejo, a member from Rwanda said the law is critical to integration particularly to transporters. He however notes that the assembly should be careful with this law not to indirectly have barriers hence urging the council of ministers to hurry the Tariff Barrier Control Bill.
Uganda’s Minister for EAC affairs Shem Bageine said the passing of the Vehicle Load Control law will perhaps reduce on the problems on East African roads but not entirely since there are no alternative means of transport in place. He noted that there is a need to develop other means of transport like railway lines in order to reduce pressure on the roads in the region.
The law comes with measures that payments of overloading fees are to be done administratively through prepaid coupons or electronic transfers while eliminating payments through the court systems, among others. It will also see the making of regulations necessary for its effective implementation.