Kuzeeko Tjitemisa WINDHOEK – Transport Minister John Mutorwa yesterday dashed any hope of granting an increase of 50 percent in taxi fares to taxi drivers and owners, saying the increase being demanded is way above what is prescribed by the laws of the country. The minister’s pronouncement squash proposal by NTTU president Werner Januarie to introduce taxi fare increment ranging between N$15 and N$75 per trip with effect from September 1, this year. Mutorwa also warned that any illegal increases may see taxi operators or drivers having their public permits, with which they are able to transport people, withdrawn or suspended by the government. “The taxi fares remains unchanged at this stage,” said Mutorwa who also made the “request taxi operators and drivers to refrain from charging fares that have not ben approved by the Road Transportation Board.” The board is the body empowered to deal with increases in taxi fare rates. “Any violation of the law is a criminal offence and nobody must take the law in his or her own hands,” he said in a statement. Mutorwa meanwhile confirmed that all three competing unions for taxis have submitted applications requesting the Transport Ministry to grant taxi fare increases. The NTTU, which represents taxi drivers, has applied for a 50 percent increase, the Namibia Bus and Taxi Association (NABTA) which represents taxi owners, and which government recognised as sole legal mandated representative of taxi operators in 2013, has applied for 20 percent increase. The Namibia Public Passenger Transport Association (NPPTA), which was born out of taxi operators dissatisfied with NABTA in 2012, has applied for 10 percent increase. However, Mutorwa made it clear that the law only allows for an increase that is not more than 10 percent. The Road Transportation Act states that “a holder of Public Permit authorised to convey person for reward may at any time after any increase in the price of petroleum fuel in the Republic, increase such tariffs by so much, but by no more than 10 percent of such tariffs,” said Mutorwa. In the meantime thought the ministry has acknowledged receipts of all three applications and has informed the three associations that their applications are now referred to the Transportation Board. “The board will then convene to process the applications. An assessment will then be conducted with consultation from all stakeholders that might be affected by the decision on taxi fare increment,” said Mutorwa. He also indicated that the decision for increase would consider a lot of economic factors “in order to strike a balance in satisfying stakeholders”. Once a decision is reached by the Road Transportation Board in consultation with the minister, a formal communication to the applicants notifying them of the decision is issued. In a case where the request for a fare increase has been approved, such information will be communicated to the public through an official public statement to that effect.
2018-07-27 09:00:04 1 months ago