Transport and Communication Minister Brian Mushimba says his ministry will create a Marine and Inland Water Authority to cut on inefficiency in water transportation.

He said this during a question and answer session in Parliament yesterday after delivering a ministerial statement on the status of water carriage in the country.

“Indeed the reason to propose formation of an inland water authority is speaking into some of the inefficiencies that we’ve seen in the current set up. Right now the marine department is sitting in my ministry, and looking at the manpower in there and the amount of work that needs to be done, and including the fact that this government’s focus is to make sure that this type of transportation is provided to its citizens, especially where it is the only mode of transportation, we felt that the importance attached to this requires an agency that’s going to be focused on this in a manner we are not seeing right now because of being centralized in Lusaka when these services are required across the country, ” he said.

He said this after Mbabala MP Ephraim Kaang’andu Belemu wanted clarity on whether Zambia was cutting and pasting the creation of an Authority from counties with huge water bodies and ports.

And Mushimba announced that he would present a bill to the House that would facilitate the revamping of marine transportation.

“Mr Speaker, to that effect I will be coming to this August House with a bill to reform and improve this sector, I humbly solicit for support from this House that when the bill comes, it will be supported in order to create the proper legal framework for the sector to develop fully and be able to provide reliable services to our people that depend on water transportation with better facilities,” he emphasized.

Mushimba said the creation of the Authority would increase funding needed for the expansion of water transportation system.

“This Authority will also enhance maintenance and development of water transport infrastructure and help greatly in the creation of a national water transport system that will promote private sector participation as well,” he said.

Meanwhile Mushimba disclosed that a total of 2,664 kilometers of canals had been dredged over the last three years and government procured water vessels to facilitate water transportation.

He urged MPs from districts with water bodies to become ambassadors of safety on water through sensitisation.

Mushimba was then urged to eliminate and control weeds overgrowing on most water bodies, posing a barrier to water transportation.