Taxi drivers under their umbrella body Kampala Operational Stages Association(KOSA) have rejected a proposal in the Traffic and Road Safety Bill 2018 that seeks to ban touting, arguing that the move is discriminatory against players in the industry.
Traffic and Road Safety Bill 2018 seeks to amend section 99 by prohibiting touting and creates a punishment of 300 currency points equivalent to Shs6M or six months imprisonment for offenders.
Appearing before the Parliamentary Physical Infrastructure Committee today to present their views on the bill, the taxi drivers led by Ibrahim Magara described the proposal as grossly unfair, saying there is no other practical and competitive way the Association members shall manage to push their business in the face of heightened taxes.
He also said the move is unconstitutional under article 21 of the 1995 constitution.
“This is essentially because all other vocations like traders, boda bodas, even corporate companies like telecoms carry out touting in one way or another under the guise of sales promotion. Our submission is therefore that this provision be repealed as it has outlived its usefulness if any,” he said.
The other contentious clause in the bill is the proposal to have the Minister of Transport organize public transport which requires the public transport providers to form companies, registered associations, partnerships, cooperatives societies in a manner prescribed under the Act.
The Taxi drivers argued that for a long time, they have held leadership of this industry and know without a doubt that the stake holder theory in the taxi industry is uniquely constructed and needs to be approached with due regard to its special tenets.
“We wouldn’t want to emulate concepts that may instead stifle development; all registrations at the moment have long been made under the umbrella Association. The concept of independent associations is alien to our traditional context and arrangement of the taxi industry and can do more harm than good,” Magara added.
Another Taxi Association weighed into the matter saying the proposal to force public transport operators to belong to associations is a threat as it will move towards ring fencing the sector to only the rich and proposed to have this made voluntary and instead of coming up with new Associations, the Ministry of Works and Transport should instead support the exiting association.
The taxi operators welcomed the proposal to exempt people who offer help to accident victims from disturbance from authorities, but also called for punitive measures against people who rob accident victims.