Last year, the cabinet made a resolution reinstating the charges that President Museveni had suspended in 2017 after taxi operators complained of exorbitant charges. They were paying 120,000 Shillings every month.
A statutory Instrument issued by Minister for Local Government Raphael Magyezi indicated that vehicles carrying between seven to twenty passengers, including taxis, would pay 720,000 Shillings annually. This would apply to vehicles operating within KCCA jurisdiction.
Vehicles with the same sitting capacity but operating beyond KCCA jurisdiction would be required to pay 840,000 Shillings while those with sitting capacity from 21 passengers to over sixty would pay an annual fee of 2.4 Million Shillings.
Last year, Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA and the Ministry of Works and Transport started registration of commuter vehicles and were given temporary route charts that indicated their park of origin and their destination.
The charts expired in December 2020 and the government had asked all taxis to have cleared all taxes including park user fees before acquiring permanent route charts. Taxis without the charts wouldn’t be allowed to operate.
However, taxi operators protested the move saying many of them couldn’t raise the amount on time to acquire route charts arguing that their earnings had been affected by the COVID 19 pandemic. They asked the government to reduce the tax and allow them to pay installments.
In a letter signed by Yasin Sendawula on behalf of the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Works, the government has allowed taxi operators to pay in installments.
“The purpose of this communication is to inform you that your request for paying in quarterly instalments has been accepted and you can go ahead and pay in URA and proceed to Ministry of Works and Transport for route charts as per the procedure” read the letter in part.
Mustafa Mayambala, the Chairman of Uganda Transport Development Agency- UTRADA welcomed the idea and expressed readiness to make the payments. He says taxi operators are willing to pay the tax but had only asked that a friendly payment schedule be provided to cater for operators who can’t afford to pay the full amount as had been stipulated.
Gard Mugisha, the Chairman Taxi Owners’ Association however decried the multiple charges they pay. He cited the passenger service vehicle fees, Street Parking fees charged by Multiplex Limited and Park fees charged in privately owned Parks.
In an earlier interview with URN, the Commissioner for Transport at the Ministry of Works and Transport Winston Katushabe said they are still reviewing the earlier route charts since taxi operators had raised some inconsistencies like duplication of stages.
It’s after the Ministry has published the route charts and registered taxis allocated route charts with route numbers that the tax will be implemented.
KCCA expects to collect in park user fees at least 8 Billion Shillings from taxis and 2 Billion Shillings from other commercial vehicles each year. For taxis that operate in Kampala, all the money shall be collected by KCCA but payments shall be made through Uganda Revenue Authority- URA.
For taxis that go beyond Kampala and the Metropolitan areas, KCCA shall get 60 percent of the money collected and the rest goes to the other Local Government where the taxi sets off.