GULU – Gulu Taxi Operators and Transporters’ Cooperative members staged a protest recently at the office of the city resident commissioner to draw attention to what they called high monthly taxes slapped on them; Shs 80,000 for each bus, Shs 30,000 for each taxi and an additional Shs 1,000 is for parking at the stage for both taxis and pickups.
The Gulu taxi operators abandoned work on May 25 and marched to the office of the City Resident Commissioner with a petition.
The government had suspended revenue collections from taxi operators across the country during the Covid-19 induced lockdown. But the collections were reinstated after the lockdown was eased.
However, Gulu City Council authorities have levied about Shs 180 million in annual tax revenues from the transporters’ cooperative, which members protested.
Bob Orach, a taxi operator in Lacor Trading Centre, said the collection of the money is not done transparently.
The groups have also demanded that the council explains the tender they claim was illegally given to the contractor.
However, the Gulu City Council Senior Finance Officer Geoffrey Oyoo, said the council received a directive from the Ministry of Works and Transport to reinstate collection of revenues from taxi operators.
“The council doesn’t have money and so this arrangement is to generate money for us. The council can’t survive without revenues,” Oyoo explained.
He said however, that the council has given the contractor a two months’ tender as it carries out a census on the number of taxis, buses and other vehicles to determine the revenue base.
Dickson Oyugi, the chairman Taxi Operators and Transporters’ Cooperative, who also the interim contractor, said the money will improve service delivery in the council.
Denis Odongpiny, the Gulu City Resident Commissioner, advised the warring parties to settle the dispute before revenue collection begins.
He however, cautioned against corruption, which he said affects revenue collection in the country.
“You need to pay tax to enable the government to reduce on external borrowings but there must be accountability that the people know where the money goes,” Odongpiny warned.
The council has approximately 500 taxis that operate in the city, 25 buses that leave and enter the city and 130 pickups operating within the city.
Buy your copy of theCooperator magazine from one of our countrywide vending points or an e-copy on emag.thecooperator.news