Kenya loses road weight fight
Kenya has lost the battle to limit the road transport weight at 48 tonnes after the regional legislative body enacted a law allowing a higher limit.
Kenya, unlike the other four East Africa Community Member states, had put a maximum of six axles with each axle load of eight tonnes.
However, through the East Africa Community Vehicle Load Control Bill, 2012, East African Legislative Assembly harmonised the law permitting seven axle vehicles putting the limit at 56 metric tonnes.
The Bill was passed on Wednesday during the EALA plenary sitting in Kampala, Uganda. Kenya Highways National Authority, which is in charge of controlling overloading in the main highways says it ready its implement the law.
“We shall implement the law as guided by the ministry,” KeNHA Corporate Affairs Manager, Mr Charles Njogu said.
The independent East African News Agency said the Bill moved by the Chair of Council of Ministers, Shem Bageine, envisages control of vehicle loads, harmonised enforcement and to make institutional arrangements for the Regional Trunk Road Network for the Community.
Mr Bageine said the main objective of the Bill is to achieve efficient and effective control of vehicle loading to reduce damage to roads.
Overloading of vehicles along the regional trunk road network has led to high costs of maintenance, Bageine said.
The tabling of the Bill was preceded by a Report of the Committee on Communications Trade and Investments (CTI) which held public consultations on the subject matter with stakeholders from partner states in March.
The report by the Chair of the CTI, MP Angela Charles Kizigha, observed the shortage of necessary infrastructure and l facilities to implement the Vehicle Overload Bill.
At the same time, it recommends that the Council of Ministers conducts sensitisation programmes to ease the implementation of the law.
During the debate, MP Abdulkarim Harelimana [Rwanda] said it was necessary to maintain roads in order to facilitate trade, while MP Dan Kidega [Uganda] said the region’s infrastructure needed to be enhanced.
Kidega said he would be happy “to see a situation where the rail network also becomes functional.”
MP Abubakar Zein Abubakar [Kenya] hailed the law making process that involved public participation. He called for additional resources towards sensitisation once the law is assented to.
MP Bernard Mulengani [Uganda] said the law would reduce costs of doing business and called on Partner States to ensure its full implementation.
MP Patricia Hajabakiga [Rwanda] said it was important for Non-Tariff Barriers to be removed.
The EAC Secretary General, Amb Dr Richard Sezibera reportedly hailed the Council for bringing forth the Bill and noted that another eleven Bills were on line to be tabled before the House.
The Bill was informed by thorough research and scientific studies.
It is divided into eight main parts. Part 1 has preliminary clauses while the legal load limits and overloading fees are enumerated in Part 2.
The Obligatory weighing of vehicles and the special categories of vehicle loads are contained in the Part 3.
The four last sections deal with clauses on operations, enforcement, institutional arrangements, offences and penalties.
The Committee on Trade and Investments had on Tuesday met with the Council of Ministers to further refine the clauses of the Bill. It now awaits assent by the Heads of State.