New Vision (Kampala)

Uganda: Pioneer Agrees to Pay URA, to Resume Operations

The management of Pioneer Easy bus and Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) are close to striking a deal that will see the transport company resume its activities "soon," MPs on the Committee on National Economy have heard.

URA Commissioner General, Allen Kagina said the recent suspension of Pioneer Easy operations over sh8b tax dispute was a last resort after Pioneers management had exhausted the tax body's patience.

"We don't want to inconvenience the public. We intend to solve this issue as soon as possible because Pioneer Easy bus management has agreed to a payment plan," Kagina said when asked by Latif Ssebagala (Kawempe North) about the possible resumption of bus services to thousands of people in the Greater Kampala Metropolitan area.

The Commissioner General said only a few loose ends need to be tied up for the bus company to resume its operations, although she couldn't put a date to it.

Kagina told MPs that Pioneer Easy bus management has for more than a year been running URA in circles over outstanding taxes, breaching numerous memorandums of understanding in the process.

Kagina revealed that Pioneer Easy bus had accepted to pay sh20m per month in an attempt to clear the tax, but did it for only three months and started to default.

"It doesn't make economic sense to have 100 buses grounded, but the decision we took last week was meant to account for outstanding taxes," Kagina said.

Pioneer Easy bus was allowed by URA to begin operations early last year without clearing all its taxes because of a strike by taxi operators that had paralyzed transport within Kampala and its environs.

The taxi operators were demonstrating over sh120,000 monthly dues on taxis by Kampala Capital City Authority.

When contacted KCCA public relations officer Peter Kaujju said the authority is to review PEB contract adding that a committee has been set up to start reviewing the contract.

The then KCC signed a contract in which they, were meant to build bus lanes, stages and parking areas for the buses, which he said was not fulfilled.

"We did not honour the agreement and neither did PEB," Kaujju revealed. On the issue of revenue, Kaujju said that each bus was meant to pay sh.300,000 per month to KCCA.

URA last week suspended the bus company operations and issued it with a two-day ultimatum to pay up, or get its buses auctioned off.

Passengers have enjoyed lower fares charged by the buses, compared to those charged by taxis, which dominate the city's public transport.

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2013 New Vision. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.