Majority of Ugandans have opposed the new road toll charges that were announced and gazetted by the Ministry of Works and Transport for the Entebbe Express Way.
Speaking at the Kajjansi Toll gate, along the Entebbe Express highway, General Katumba Wamala the Minister of Works revealed that there will be no more enjoyment of free rides on the Entebbe Expressway once the collection of road toll starts.
He said the payments will commence on January, 1, 2022, with only Presidential convoys, Ambulances and Fire Brigades exempted from the fee.
Katumba noted that the tolls collected, will in turn be used by UNRA to pay back the operator for operations and maintenance of the road and to repay the loan from China Exim Bank for construction of the road.
Katumba said that that Motorcycles with more than 400cc and not boda bodas will pay UGX3000 per trip while light vehicles will pay UGX5000. Medium goods vehicles (2-3axles) will pay UGX10,000. Large goods vehicles and buses (4-5 axles) will pay UGX15,000 whereas large goods vehicles will pay UGX18,000.
Commenting on the matter, Andrew Irumba, the CEO of Online Media outlet SpyUganda, noted that the Entebbe Expressway and many others coming up are being built on loans, which shall be paid back by the tax payers over time, and also transferred to the grandchildren.
Irumba argues that when government charges motorists, it is carrying out double taxation.
“So now, then why charge us double by collecting from us every time we pass and then again later pay through the taxes we pay, one thing with African leaders is that they only copy and paste bad examples from western world,” Irumba said.
He adds that government copied a wrong idea from Europe where filthy rich companies build private roads as a business, any one who wants to use them as alternative pays the owners.
“An example is Mahathi infra Uganda ltd. building an alternative route to Mombasa port via water to transport oil, anyone who needs to transport their goods on their network will pay them. Another one is young tycoon Ham Kiggundu who’s building Nakibubo stadium, he will collect his money back,” he said.
Rogers Kayondo, on the other hand, questioned the decision by the government to construct a road in Congo and yet it makes its citizens pay.
Solomon Lubwama on Facebook said: “So a French company is contracted to collect dues in Uganda to pay back China! Does this call for a scientist to figure out! After Lafarge owning cement CO’s , Total oil pipe line. All French companies.”
Judith Kobusinge on Facebook argued, “Let’s use our normal Katwe -Entebbe road and we enjoy our jam we’re so used to it, enjoy your roads since you have all the money by your selves.”
Farida Lule, a journalist said, “Double taxation is real When i get my salary the organisation deducts PAYE, the rest is sent to my account immediately the bank chops off taxes. No one cares as long as government earns, not sure whether the ministry of works engaged the stakeholders widely before concluding on 5k,10k and 18k for one single route why not per day at least.”
Mutabazi Sam Stewart, an urban planner argues that the gazzetted fees are way too high for most motorists.
“This is way too expensive especially for the motorists that use the road multiple times a day. Our proposal to the roads agency was a far amount of at least UGX2000”
One person identified as @BenMugu tweeted that: “Its better to have many use (000’s) the road per day at 1k or 2k at the most; rather than a few. Economics of mass pooling of resources means the dividends of the road will only be realized by having 000’s on it. Else you risk a white elephant and loss of goodwill.”