Mbarara City motorists decry double taxation

Part of Mbarara city as viewed from Buremba road. PHOTOs/RAJAB MUOKOMBOZI

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Mr Jamil Majidu, a resident of Katete cell in Nyamitanga Ward in Mbarara City South, said the fees are unrealistic and will cause conflict between residents and authorities

Motorists in Mbarara City have decried street parking fees being levied on them, saying they have suffocated their businesses.

They claim authorities charge them loading and offloading fees as well as parking fees.

Mr Jamil Majidu, a resident of Katete cell in Nyamitanga Ward in Mbarara City South, said the fees are unrealistic and will cause conflict between residents and authorities.

“Two companies collect different fees, by the time you get out of a shop from purchasing things, you find tickets on your car dashboard. There should be stipulated guidelines so that we pay to one company,” he said.

Mr Chrispus Muhekyi, a taxi driver on Mbarara-Rukungiri highway, said he faces the same problem while in the city centre.

“At high street and Mbaguta Street, if you have a passenger with luggage, you are charged for both parking and offloading and when you delay to pay, the car is clumped and you are not sure if it’s thieves doing this,” he said.

“They should be lenient instead of clumping our vehicles without even having dialogue with us. Double fees should be removed so that we are charged once because we want to contribute to the growth of our communities as well,” Mr Muhekyi said.

The city South Division mayor, Mr Jomo Mugabe, said the double fees are illegal.

“The issue of taxing residents over parking on streets is becoming a habit and we condemn it. When someone buys commodities and loads them on a vehicle, he is charged something that suffocates traders, and this double taxing will not develop our residents,” he said.

Mr Mugabe said other people accessing the city are facing the same problem. The city clerk, Mr Asse Abireebe, justified the fees, saying they contribute to local revenue.

 “We charge street parking, which is paid by every vehicle that parks on gazetted streets. This is meant to organise the city as well as increase the security within the city and also people’s vehicles,” he said.

However, Mr Abireebe said the offloading and loading fees are only charged on Lorries and other big vehicles to meet the cost of wear and tear of the roads.

“Where luggage is offloaded it is paid by the owner of the merchandise, not the driver, so that is not double taxation. Where you find the driver or owner of Lorries is the same owner of merchandise, that’s value addition taxation where money is paid at every stage of production,” he said.

Parking fees

According to Mr Asse Abireebe, the city clerk, vehicles are charged Shs20, 000 for parking per month and Shs40,000 for offloading and loading per month. “We collect about Shs2m per week from the loading and offloading fees while the street parking fees bring Shs7m per week but we hope to merge this tax in future so that the people do not feel double taxed because we have constantly received complaints from the public. However, we cannot terminate the companies’ contract midway,” he said.

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