Taxi operators to pay Shs 700,000 per year

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New information emerging from Saturday's meeting between President Museveni, taxi operators and officials of KCCA is that all taxis operating in the city centre shall pay Shs 700,000 per year to the city authority.

The meeting preceded brutal arrests of taxi operators by KCCA law enforcement officers for failure to pay tax.

Kampala Capital City Authority Executive Director Jennifer Musisi said the authority had suffered a shortfall of more than Shs 6 billion in the last three months as result of the tax operators refusal to pay the monthly fee levied on them.

"We had a fruitful discussion and agreed on several issues. For example, to create order in the next seven months, taxis will stick to specific routes and pay the agreed levies at point of destination not departure…. The meeting agreed that I issue detailed working guidelines in the coming days which I will do," Museveni tweeted after yesterday meeting.

The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, Kampala Minister Beti Kamya, State Minister for Finance David Bahati and acting KCCA Deputy Executive Director Sam Sserunkuma among other government officials.

"The president's directive will be that taxis operating in Kampala should pay 700,000 Shillings and those operating in other areas should pay 500,000 Shillings. The president directed this levy should be paid annually,"Mustapha Mayambala, a leader of one of the taxi operators' groups said.

The  120,000 Shillings that taxi operators have been paying per month translates into an annual fee of to Shs 1.44 million per year.

This means the president's directive will reduce this fee by over 50 percent.

Mayambala said the president tasked Rugunda to coordinate engagements so that this directive can be implemented starting January next year.  He said the president also directed that all tax operators as well as taxis impounded for failure to pay the monthly levy by KCCA law enforcers should be released.

"We are happy with the president's directive. We won the struggle. We have been calling for reduction of taxes and they (KCCA) have been blackmailing us. We are happy the president sided with us," Mayambala said.

When contacted for a comment, Acting KCCA Deputy Executive Director Sam Sserunkuma who attended the meeting said, "the president is going to communicate himself.  Those are some of the issues (matatu tax reduction) which we discussed. I don't want to go into details before a final communication comes from State House."

In a letter dated July 22nd, 2017, Museveni wrote to the Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Ruganda directing that government agencies shouldn't over tax informal sector players such as taxi operators, market and roadside vendors.

"As far as taxis are concerned, it should again be one fee for an annual licence. Once you have that licence, you should operate without hindrance on the route for which, you were licensed for the whole year…if the owner of the tax business makes profit out of his income, then the profit could be taxed…the daily taxation of operations must stop immediately," Museveni said in the July letter.

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