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Parliament directs transport ministry over Boda-Boda operations

The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga chairing the afternoon plenary session. Photo by Parliament of Uganda.

Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |  The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has directed the Minister of Works and Transport to present a statement in regard to the plight of the Boda-Boda industry which continues to be under lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Kadaga, a statement should be presented next week Tuesday on measures put in place by government to address the concerns of Boda-Boda operators and the proposed way forward.

“What have you provided the Boda-Boda operators? Have you bothered to find out how they are surviving and whether they have food? In other countries, food has been provided. The Ministry of Works should bring Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for them,” Kadaga directed. 

This followed a petition from Boda-Boda operators in Kaliro district presented by the Bulamogi County MP Kenneth Lubogo. In the petition, the Boda-Boda operators appealed for parliament’s intervention to allow them resume work. 

“The humble state that they have patiently and painfully observed other transporters like Taxis and bicycle riders carry out their trade and start to live a fairly normal life but unfortunately, your petitioners are still locked-up, hungry, stressed, falling sick, their dignity eroded and tempted into habits they must avoid,” Lubogo read out the petition.

The MP said that the Boda-Boda operators appeal to government to open up their business and permit them carry passengers up to a distance not exceeding 40 kilometers from their stations while observing applicable SOPs.

These also want government to take up the interest on loans that have accrued on the loans they incurred when acquiring the motorcycles for the period of March upto the opening up of their business. 

Kadaga said that the same issue had been raised in several other petitions to her office from Boda-Boda operators in different parts of the country. She wondered why government had not yet come out clearly to say something on the industry.

The Minister of State for Works Joy Kabatshi said that there are still questions about Boda-Bodas being the only means of transport that can reach deeper in rural areas and carry infected people to those areas.

She said that there is need to find answers to these questions. However this attracted fury from legislators who demanded that government opens up the industry.

Her response angered Speaker Kadaga directing that government provides answers to the limping industry.

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