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Municipalities, towns to halt service delivery over shortage of local revenue

The Old taxi park in Kampala. Authorities want government to allow them levy taxes on taxis: NET PHOTO

Mayors and town clerks are worried that in the next financial years, some municipalities and towns are likely to halt delivering social services.

The leaders of municipalties and towns across the country have said a presidential directive halting levying taxes on commuter taxis is crippling service delivery.

They were meeting at Namboole Stadium since Thursday,  to build institutional relationship among themselves.

Museveni in August last year ordered KCCA, municipalities and towns to stop collecting taxes from commuter taxis after receiving complaints from taxis drivers that they were paying multiple taxes.

Mayors from Mukono and Tororo municipalities on Saturday told  state minister for Local Government  Jennifer Namuganyu that taxis business was the main source of local revenue, running the authorities.

“It’s difficult to keep these areas clean. For example, it  requires us to buy fuel for the trucks which transport the garbage and pay those who collect it. But where shall we get the money to do all these?” Jamadah Kajoba, the deputy mayor Mukono Municipality asked.

This is the same argument KCCA raised at the beginning of this year, with its managers threatening to close over debts.

KCCA was charging a Shs120,000 monthly levy on every commuter taxi operating in the city.

When the President halted its collection, a financial report form the directorate of finance at the authority indicates that KCCA was facing a debt of Shs27b.

Other debts rose from the services other institutions like UMEME, NWSC, NSSF and URA were providing to KCCA.

For instance, according to the report, URA wants KCCA to pay Shs8b as Pay as You Earn for its employees.

Councils not sitting

In some municipalities like Iganga and Kasese, council meetings are not convened because funds are not enough to cater for allowances of councillors.

In her remarks Ms Namuyangu, revealed that her ministry, KCCA and the Finance ministry are working on the document, which will be followed in levying taxes on commuter taxis.

“We are going to meet the President soon and get his input on this matter. We have already engaged with taxis drivers and the owners. Some want to pay monthly fees and others annual fees. After meeting the President, we shall come up with the Cabinet paper, which we shall present to Cabinet,” she explained.

The Cabinet position, Namuyangu explained, will be tabled before Parliament to be endorsed or the minister of Local Government will issue an instrument as is required under the Local Government Act.

Namuyangu also revealed that their investigations showed the amount of money association leaders are charging are more than what municipalities and towns were levying.

“Whenever the taxis driver stops at any stage, he has to pay welfare fees. This will have to stop,”she added.

Before halting authorities from levying taxes, each of them was charging commuter taxis differently.

For instance, acommuter taxi loading from the city parks has to pay Shs120,000 to KCCA, and would also have to pay at its destination.

In a new proposed fee, Namuyangu revealed that commuter taxis will pay only at the departure point.

 

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