The Mbarara Municipal Council has demanded that the tenderer of the Mbarara taxi park pays a total of Shs 170 million owed to the municipality in arrears.
The issue was raised on Tuesday during a council meeting.
According to Speaker, Bonny Tashobya, the Mbarara United Taxi Operators Cooperative Union Ltd formed in 2016 after merging the Mbarara United Tax Operators and Drivers Association (MUTODA) and Mbarara United Taxi Drivers, Conductors and Owners Cooperative Society Limited – MUTOCOS earned a tender with Mbarara municipal council.
The tender was to run for 5 years expiring in 2021 and according to the signed MOU, union leaders were to pay Shs 16 million weekly to the Council.
However, without councilors’ consent, the municipality executive leadership headed by the town clerk sat with union officials and revised the payment downwards to Shs 11 million (per week) in May 2018.
Tashobya says as Council, they owe union officials Shs 170m.
He wondered how the money was reduced to Shs 16 million without any council resolution.
“These members are meant to be paying us Shs 16 million weekly. Now, they are paying Shs 11million. So, councilors are asking, where is the agreement or MOU between the tax park union and council indicating that this fee was revised from Shs 16m to Shs 11m?” he told the press.
Before the council meeting ended, a Presidential directive was tabled in asking Council to adopt the new sticker system which encourages an annual lump sum collection from taxis.
Tashobya confirmed to SoftPower News that the letter from the President’s Office sought to stop the tender system in the tax park.
He says the directive followed a complaint was lodged to President Yoweri Museveni by former Bukanga MP, Nathan Byanyima who is the chairman United National Transport Union (UNTU) through the local government Permanent Secretary.
“Former MP Nathan Byanyima went and lodged in a complaint to the President and then we received a Presidential directive ordering us to stop what we have been doing on a tender agreement,” the Speaker said.
Tashobya said the Shs 800m anticipated from the sticker system annually is far lower than the annual revenue estimates under the current arrangement.
He however says the directive does not stop council from demanding its arrears.
“The President even called the town clerks and treasurers. They had a two-day meeting on this issue but the directive does not interfere with the earlier agreement signed with park tenderer,” he revealed.
“Modalities and payments are the ones changing but they must clear their arrears”.
The Speaker added that failure to clear the Shs 70 million debt will result in the termination of the contract, as per the terms agreed upon in the contract.
Meanwhile, councilors formed a nine member committee that will investigate the matter together with the legal department, after which a report on the findings will be availed to council.