PDM wants transportation fare increase withdrawn

The Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) has called on the Ministry of Works and Transport to withdraw the 15 per cent Bus and Taxi fare increase, arguing that all the sectors across the nation are affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

In a press statement released on Wednesday, the PDM member of Parliament, Johnny Martin asked why the transportation industry is treated special as if it is the only sector negatively-affected economically in the country by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ministry of Works and Transport, in consultation with the Road Transportation Board of Namibia, the past few weeks issued a directive for the temporary 15 per cent Bus and Taxi fare increase because of economic loss due to measures implemented to combat the pandemic.

“Looking at the reality and the current situation in the country, it is not only the transportation sector which is affected and none is able to tell when will be the end of COVID-19 which is affecting everyone,” stated Martin.

According to him, PDM observed that the public members who are expected to endure the 15 per cent increase, are the same people still battling to receive the N.dollars 750 Emergency Income Grant (EIG).

Most of street vendors, Martin said, still cannot sell their goods, workers have been retrenched and some suffered pay cuts, bars are closed and current operating of businesses (food stores and others offering essential goods) is not inflating prices of goods to be affordable during COVID-19.

The PDM politician believes the community members are already enduring enough, and the decision to increase transport with 15 per cent should be withdrawn.

“What is so special with transport industry that consumers must compensate for their lost income?” Martin asked and at the same time demanded to know if vendors will be given discount when buying stocks at retailers or should they also increase their prices.

PDM suggests to the Ministry and the transport board to run a campaign of distributing free masks and sanitizer to Taxi and Bus operators to ensure that customers are protected by providing protective materials.

“Long distance driver to keep passenger tracing contact logbook to be presented at roadblocks for easy tracing in case someone is infected,” he suggested.

Source: Namibia Press Agency