By Tugume Johnbosco, Hoima
A standoff has developed between Hoima Municipality Authorities and drivers in Hoima town over the move to extend park management contract.
Hoima municipality contracted Hoima Tax/Bus Owners and Drivers Cooperative Society to manage revenue collection in the tax and bus park whose contract expired in July this year.
The municipality leadership in August extended the contract for other three months which expires in November.
This however was not understood by tax and bus drivers who until last Saturday resolved to stop paying all taxes awaiting for the municipality to come out and explain to them how the contract was extended.
They accuse the municipality leadership of failure to consult them before extending the contract and failure to disclose to them about the presidential directive on informal sector taxation.
The patron Hoima-Kampala Drivers Association, Venance Karubanga said they decided to suspend tax payment to show their discontent to the municipal leadership.
According to him, the municipality leadership has not come out to explain to them about President Yoweri Museveni’s directive dated July 22, 2017 in which he advised that drivers should only pay annual license fees.
A taxi driver along Hoima - Masindi road, John Kugonza said they used other formal avenues including writing to the municipality about the issue but did not get any feedback.
He said they are being cheated since such taxes have been stopped in other urban councils.
Drivers pay; daily charges ranging between Shs5000 - 20,000 per car depending on the number of passenger seats, monthly charge of Shs10,000 and ground rent of Shs100,000.
Kahoora division chairman, Fredrick Alibankoha however said the drivers should adhere to the municipality policies since there is no guideline yet to implement the presidential directive.
The Assistant municipality Town Clerk, Daniel Kaseregenyi condemned the drivers' act describing it as illegal. According to him, the municipality is yet to receive a policy guideline on how the directive is to be implemented.
He said they plan to meet all drivers and local leaders in the division before the week ends to explain to them about the issue.
The General Secretary of Hoima Tax/Bus Drivers and Owners Cooperative Association, Julius Bahemuka said they are supposed to remit about Shs130 million per quarter but is doubtful if they will be able to raise it at the end of the contract in November.
The Bus and Tax park collections remain the biggest tax revenue base for Hoima municipality.