Friday March 9 2012

KCCA starts collecting taxi dues today

By Robert Mwanje

The collection of revenue from taxi operators in Kampala city begins today even when operators are still opposed to the fee to be paid.

At least four top members of the suspended Uganda Taxi Operators and Drivers Association (UTODA) have been appointed on the Kampala Capital City Authority interim taxi management committee to enforce revenue collection.

The 19-man committee headed by councillor Joyce Achan will work with Utoda officials Hajj Musa Katongole (chairman), Mr Charles Kamya (spokesperson), John Ndyomugyenyi (national chairperson) and Mr William Katumba (finance officer).

Police and other security agents will help the group to collect the contested Sh120,000 per month as opposed to the suggested Shs70,000 by majority drivers backed by Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago.

“The committee shall be responsible for all matters to do with the management of taxis, including discipline, compliance to payment of KCCA dues and traffic flow,” KCCA Executive Director Jennifer Musisi told journalists yesterday in Kampala.

She said: “This city is managed by KCCA and not groups, speculators or individuals. We have got the law in place mandating us to collect revenue to serve the public.”

Recently, KCCA took over management of taxi transport following the expiry of Utoda’s contract.

Ms Musisi said the revised charges of Shs120,000 were Shs3,500 less the official figure, warning defaulting drivers that KCCA enforcement team will take action against them.

“We have given them enough grace period to comply and we are starting today to enforce the law with the help of government force. Speculators can go ahead and shout but we shall not consider that,” she added.

KCCA Revenue Director Phoebe Kamya said defaulters will be arrested and prosecuted immediately.
“Defiant drivers risk getting negative surprises, including towing of their vehicles at their costs, pay fines and being arrested,” she said.

Flanked by division mayors and councillors, Ms Musisi condemned politicians who were discouraging taxpayers for selfish political gains. She said KCCA budget performance had declined from the projected Sh3.5 billion per month to Sh1.9 billion.

The city boss added that today’s exercise also serves as a warning to other tax defaulters, including hotel tax, property tax, trading licence, commuter taxi dues, advertising tax and ground rates defaulters.

“Whoever is discouraging collection of taxes should also know that it’s criminal to block government revenue. We are about to see certain people being arrested,” she said.