Nabta sticks to 20%

13 June 2018 | Transport

The Namibia Buses and Taxi Association (Nabta) president Vespa Muunda has denied being in agreement with a 50% taxi fare hike as proposed last week by the Namibia Transport and Taxi Union (NTTU).

Muunda told Namibian Sun yesterday reports that he had agreed with NTTU president Werner Januarie to raise taxi fares by 50% are untrue.

“We are not agreeing with the proposed 50% hike. It's not what we discussed with the ministry, or what was demanded at the taxi demonstration earlier this year,” he said.

“NTTU cannot jump to 50%. That is confusing. I cannot agree with that. It was not in the pipeline and it was not in the negotiations,” he said, referring to a high-level ministerial meeting headed by transport minister John Mutorwa recently between the NTTU, Nabta and other road sector players.

Muunda said while taxi users will agree with the necessity of a 20% increase, a 50% increase could drive consumers to alternative cheaper options.

“They have to look after bread and butter matters. It will be too difficult to pay so much extra for taxis. Twenty per cent is better than 50%,” he said.

Muunda emphasised that Namibia in general is facing financial difficulties and this needs to be taken into account.

“There is no money. Everyone is struggling, including drivers, owners of taxis, communities. Let's put something on the table people can agree with.”

He further urged taxi operators of ensuring that once the 20% increase becomes effective, envisioned for next month, owners of taxi operations “must give a percentage to the drivers. They need to also increase their salaries. The drivers are also suffering.”

He further highlighted that a taxi fare increase is urgent, as the fares have remained static since 2014.

“Since then, fuel has increased multiple times. The cost of tyres and services have increased.”

Januarie yesterday held a brief press conference in which he announced a union meeting scheduled for this Sunday, during which issues such as the way forward for the union, including possible legal action against government, will be discussed.

He further said that the event will double as a fundraiser.

Januarie yesterday alleged that Muunda had initially “agreed to a 50% increment” and said he had pulled out of that agreement due to possible pressure after hearing about the public's dismay at the proposed increase, among other issues.



JANA-MARI SMITH

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