Uganda’s Parliament has extended the deadline for the mandatory vehicle inspections until it investigates and pronounces itself on the matter, Business Focus reveals.
Parliament reached this unanimous decision on Thursday after Mukono County South MP, Johnson Muyanja raised the issue on the floor of Parliament, asking to have the deadline for mandatory vehicle inspections extended. The deadline was meant to take effect on June30, 2017.
Muyanja argued that Ministry of Works and Transport is taxing vehicle owners twice, noting that one pays vehicle inspection fees when they buy cars.
“There is also an element of double taxation. Previously, Government scrapped road license as a waiver to the many Ugandans suffering. Now they are coming with another tax. When you go and don’t pass the inspection, they don’t wait for 30 days. Besides, when you import a car it is inspected and you pay the USD200 and even if you still have that sticker, you have to pay for the inspection,” Muyanja argued.
After a lengthy debate, Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga ordered Parliament’s Committee on Physical Infrastructure to scrutinize the contract signed between the Government of Uganda and SGS, an automotive international firm.
“In order to amend the contract, we must look at it. Can we suspend the deadline so that Ugandans are free? There are serious divergences on that exercise. We should ask the Committee to investigate and call for a public hearing and the people managing the inspection. There are many issues which we can’t conclude here. Do a research and come back to us in one month,” Kadaga ruled.
Monica Azuba, the Minister of Works and Transport had earlier told Parliament that the mandatory vehicle inspection was geared towards curbing on road carnage that has seen Uganda lose 1,500 people annually.
The road carnage according to the Ministry is caused by vehicles in poor mechanical condition.
On Thursday, Azuba termed as misleading reports of the June 30th 2017 deadline.
“I would like to re-iterate that the deadline does not exist because this would mislead the general public to believe that after that date they should either park their vehicles or have them inspected first,” Azuba said, adding that the said deadline would cause unnecessary congestion of the stations and compromise the quality of services.
James Kakooza, the Bugabula County MP, wondered why Government hired the same contractor that had been accused of committing shoddy works in an earlier contract. He added that the SGS had in the contract pledged to construct all the stations in the first 18months, but only Kawanda station had been constructed within the specified period.
MPs wanted inspections to be stopped, but Azuba protested the move, arguing that there is already a valid contract and this would be a breach of contract, thus costing tax payers’ money if the inspection exercise was halted.
SGS earns Shs1.23bn monthly from vehicle inspections, according to statistics submitted to Parliament.