President Museveni has issued a new directive on the fees to be paid by commuter taxi operators, as an amendment to the one he issued in November last year.
Taxis plying Kampala roads or operating within 21 kilometres from Kampala will pay Shs720,000 while those operating long distances on upcountry routes will be paying Shs840,000 per year.
The new directive is a win for Kampala drivers whose fee has only gone up by only Shs20,000.
For taxis plying long routes, the fee has gone up from Shs500,000, a figure that Mr Museveni had set in November to Shs840,000 – the fee agreed last week.
The changes mean that a taxi operating from Masaka to Kampala, Masaka to Mbarara or Jinja to Kampala will be paying Shs840,000 annually.
The new figures were agreed at a State House meeting on Wednesday last week. The meeting, chaired by Mr Museveni, was attended by officials from Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), Ministry of Local Government, Uganda Local Governments Association and taxi operators’ leaders.
In November last year, the President had ordered a reduction of Kampala commuter taxis fees from Shs1.44 million to Shs700,000 and capped the fees of commuter taxis operating outside Kampala at Shs500,000.
This directive was supposed to be effected starting January 1, 2018. However, both KCCA and Ministry of Local Government went back to the president protesting the reduction.
KCCA Director for Revenue, Fred Andema, last month said they had asked the president to rescind the November directive and let Kampala taxis pay Shs120,000 per month.
On average, Mr Andema is quoted saying a Kampala taxi on average makes Shs1.2 million per month. As KCCA and Ministry of Local Government officials courted President Museveni to increase the fees, taxi operators were also on the president’s feet pleading with him to maintain the November directive.
When the money is paid, the two categories of taxis will be marked. The President ordered that Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) creates an account where this money will be deposited, relieving KCCA the responsibility of collecting tax from Kampala commuter taxis.
After collection, the money will be shared between KCCA and local government units. KCCA will take 60 percent of the revenue leaving 40 percent for the local governments.
Mr Mustapha Mayambala, the chairperson of Uganda Transporters Development Agency (UTRADA), who attended the meeting, told this reporter that President Museveni accepted to increase fees for upcountry taxis because local government leaders convinced him.
“They convinced the President that upcountry taxis make a lot of money. They gave him reports and figures and he accepted,” Mr Mayambala said.
Mr Mayambala further noted that taxi operators are ready to pay.
“We are ready to pay this money. We have been asking where and how to pay this money,” he is quoted as saying.