Friday January 1 2016

Vehicles to pay for city access

A man carries goods from a truck in Owino Market, Kampala, y

A man carries goods from a truck in Owino Market, Kampala, yesterday. Under the new law, such vehicles will each pay Shs1.2 million annually to operate in the city. PHOTO BY STEPHEN WANDERA 


Kampala-Commercial vehicles will have to part with more money to operate in Kampala capital city when a new tax introduced by government comes into force.

Truck, bus, taxi, special hire drivers and motorcyclists will each part with an already computed amount payable either on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis.

The consideration is the tonnage and sitting capacity of the vehicle; the more the tonnage and sitting capacity, the higher the charge.

The new tax comes into force after Parliament in July assented to the Kampala Capital City Commercial Road Users’ Regulations, 2015. The law stipulates that any commercial vehicle in Kampala must have paid for a sticker for operating within or transiting through the city.

Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), however, said private cars that are not commercial are exempted at the moment.

“Currently, private cars are not included. We are still working out modalities to see how to include none commercial private vehicles that use the city roads,” Mr Sam Sserunkuuma, the KCCA revenue director, said.

Plan for private vehicles
Mr Sserunkuuma hinted that the authority will introduce a tax on all vehicles entering or leaving Kampala once alternative means such as cable cars, flyovers and underground trains are introduced in the city.

He explained that the new policy will be implemented in phases. He said the first phase kicked off with the introduction of the payment of Shs120, 000 monthly levies on commuter taxis.

“We realised that it was unfair to have such taxes applying to commuter taxis. In the second phase, we are registering special hires and buses,” Mr Sserunkuuma said on Wednesday.

Under the new order, vehicles exceeding four tonnes will be restricted from entering, moving or parking in the city’s central business district. A Shs4 million fine will be slapped on any vehicle impounded for breaking the above directive.

However, passenger service vehicles such as buses and vans have been granted special access to the city centre despite being of high tonnage.

The regulations also prohibit the loading and off-loading of a vehicle in the central business district, a common practice that leads to a build-up of traffic in the city.

Commercial drivers are now required to display a route chart for their daily vehicle movements while taxi touts are also forbidden from shouting while calling passengers.

According to the regulations, commercial motorcycles commonly known as boda-boda will be charged Shs90,000 annually and other goods vehicles will annually be charged Shs450,000. Big trucks will pay Shs2.3m annually while buses will part with Shs1.8m every year.

Mr Charles Muhangi, the director of the Horizon Coaches, expressed discomfort with the new taxes.
“We already pay charges at border posts and to the various councils and bodies managing the various car parks where we load and offload passengers,” Mr Muhangi said.

“It would be vital if KCCA liaised with park owners and came up with a consented monthly charge other than disjointed charges that make our services expensive,” he added.

The chairperson of bus owners and operators, Mr Hannington Kiwanuka, said currently, they pay a passenger service van licence of Shs1.5 million and another Shs1.5 million to the Uganda Revenue Authority, adding any additional tax intends to drive them out of business.

“I only appeal to government that they reduce that tax burden and come up with a single tax that is paid once to URA because we are being indirectly conned by our own government,” Mr Kiwanuka said in a telephone interview yesterday.