Mzuzu — The Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services (DRTSS) has refuted claims that it has reduced motorcycle operating license fee for motorbike tax operators as alleged by the president of Motorbike tax Operators and Cycle Association, Michael Mkumba.
Mkumba recently convened a meeting in Mzuzu for motorbike and bicycle operators, where he said DRTSS had agreed to reduce operating license fee for the motorbike taxis.
"Our office heard the challenges why most motorbike tax operators do not have operating licenses. We approached the DRTSS to consider reducing the fees for obtaining a license.
"They considered us by reducing the fees from K180,000 to K68,000 for the association's members to acquire operating licenses within December, 2018 and February, 2019," Mkumba said.
He added that the association also had talks with the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) to consider reducing custom duty for its members.
However, when contacted to comment on the issue, Northern Region DRTSS Road Traffic Officer, Leonard Mtonya, refuted the claims saying DRTSS charges are fixed and cannot be negotiated.
"I am not aware of the matter, we have not reduced any fee. Our office does not reduce fees for obtaining a driving license because someone has negotiated with us. Maybe he meant driving schools," Mtonya said.
Mtonya added that DRTSS charges K34,000 for one to obtain a driving license whether for a motorcycle or a car.
MRA NkhataBay Customs Officer, Lawrence Masakatira, who attended the meeting by Motorbike Taxi Operators and Cycle Association President, said the development was welcome.
He said there would be need for identity cards or a letter from the association for one to qualify for the discounted duty.
"We have open window period for three months and we will register only those who have forms or a letter from the association," Masakatira said.
However, when contacted later, after DRTSS distanced itself from the association's claims, Masakatira said he contacted his bosses after the meeting and they sounded sceptical about the issue.
Malawi Revenue Authority, Spokesperson, Steven Kapoloma denied the allegations saying his office was not aware of the matter.
"We are not aware of the matter and our charges depend on the value and price of the motorcycle," Kapoloma said.
Also present during the association's meeting was Mzuzu Police Station Traffic Officer, Maxwell Lungu who welcomed the development, saying it would help reduce crime in the city since the motorcycle taxi operators will be easily traced.
Reports indicate that the association started the sensitisation meetings in the Eastern and Central regions, before coming to Mzuzu and proceeding to Chitipa.