In a bid to decongest the city and boost its revenue, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has announced that it is working on a draft policy that will make it mandatory for all private cars entering the city centre to pay a certain fee, on top of parking fees and other levies.
Speaking to Daily Monitor on the sidelines of a press conference she held in Kampala yesterday, the minister of Kampala, Ms Betty Amongi, said the draft policy would soon be shared in Cabinet for discussion and once approved, it will then be tabled to Parliament for endorsement.
She said KCCA would soon determine how much money each vehicle is expected to pay before accessing the city centre.
“You will be charged an amount to enter the city. If you have a private car, you will have to pay before you enter the central business district,” the minister said.
“The policy is under discussion and once Cabinet and Parliament approve it, we will commence with its implementations,” Ms Amongi added.
Justifying the proposal, she said the phenomenon is not new since some cities both in Africa and world over charge private cars entering main cities.
The proposal to introduce a fee for private vehicles coming into the city came up last year but was rejected by the motorists.
Private car owners are made to pay for parking fees of between Shs5,000 and Shs10,000 per day for designated places and Shs1,000 per hour.
They also pay for third party insurance, which ranges from Shs45,000 to Shs70,000, and tax on fuel.
Some motorists have out rightly rejected the draft policy, saying the government must first fix the country’s poor transport system as well as solve the boda boda puzzle.
“How do you restrict private cars in the city when you have no functional public transport system? Motorists are already paying several taxes and must be exempted from any other form of tax,” Mr Eriasa Mukiibi, a motorist, said.
Mr Ben Mubiru, another motorist, cautioned the government against taxing Ugandans who are already impoverished by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Let the government first deal with boda bodas. Vehicles consume fuel and government is already taxing fuel, why subject Ugandans to double taxation? If private vehicles are restricted, it means government will lose revenue from parking fees. So what happens to businesses such as fuel stations located in the business centres?” Mr Mubiru wondered.
Mr Badru Lugasa, another motorist, said there are no planned parking spaces in the city. “If government failed to create bus lanes in the city, why are they restricting private vehicles, which have offered a better alternative? Have they investigated why previous attempts to bring buses to the city have failed?” he wondered.
While addressing the media at the Uganda Media Centre about the new traffic law, Ms Amongi said Cabinet has approved funds for the procurement of city buses that will carry passengers to their final destinations in the boda boda free zones.
She said the buses will charge affordable fees.
Reprieve for bodas
Boda bodas have been granted a grace period of 90 days to temporarily operate in the city centre but the minister said implementation of the new directives to streamline their operations will resume on November 1.
Ms Amongi said the grace period will enable boda boda riders to register with Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) so that they are allocated gazetted stages.
The minister of Transport, Gen Katumba Wamala, at the same press conference directed all digital transporting companies such as Safe Boda, Bolt and Uber to register with the government.