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Public Transport Operators Seek Financial Bailout

NEBBI – The jobless public transport operators like taxi drivers and brokers operating in Nebbi Municipality have expressed worries over their livelihood ever since the government announced the second lockdown last month on June 18th,  2021.

They said since the government banned public transport to curb the spread of the second wave of Covid19, transport being the only source of their livelihood was greatly affected.

This has left unable to provide the most basic necessities for their families and the situation has rendered them jobless.

One of the taxi drivers in Nebbi Municipality Ugenrowth Denis, who was operating his transport business from Nebbi to Pakwach districts, said he used to get daily  savings of  Shs 20,000 but he is unable to save due to the ban on public transport which has rendered them vulnerable.

Late last month, the government announced it will use mobile money to deliver cash relief to vulnerable people who are affected by the second Covid19 lockdown.

Ugenrwoth adds that much as the government has a plan to bailout those whose businesses were affected as a result of the lockdown, the money won’t be enough since most of them bought their business vehicles using loans from financial institutions with pending loan arrears to be paid.

“I know our vehicles will be impounded by banks for failing to pay back the borrowed loans so can the government ask banks to reduce the interest on the loans?” Ugenrwoth asked.

Wachal Francis, the Chairperson Nebbi Driver’s Operators Association, also known by stage name Ja-rule said, the lock down has put drivers and brokers in a great litmus test; that they should always plan for a sister business which can support their families in future incase of similar situations.

Nancy Kayeny one of the food vendors on Nebbi -Pakwach taxi stage said her food business that was relying on drivers and brokers is currently counting loses ever since the lockdown was announced.

“I was having a booming food  business at Pakwach stage with majority of customers being drivers and brokers but when the lockdown was announced, I’m now failing to service my loan from our Voluntary Savings and Lending Association (VSLA),” Kayeny said.

Ongei Patrick who was one of the brokers at Arua road stage said he had to cross from being a broker to vending boiled eggs for his family to survive the lockdown.

“No condition is permanent, I crossed to boiled eggs vending on streets to keep me busy and I will go back to stage when the government uplifts the lockdown,” Ongei said.

However, Onyango Okol Emma, the Deputy Resident District Commissioner[DRDC], Nebbi district said, the government has started registering those whose businesses were affected during this current lockdown for relief packages whereby taxi operators, brokers, saloons, bar operators among others will be the immediate beneficiaries of the relief packages.

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