By Jariatu S Bangura
Lawmakers have enacted the Sierra Leone Public Transport Authority Act 2023, which seeks to regulate the public transportation sector and provides license for specific route to be plied by drivers.
The new Authority will take over the operations of the Sierra Leone Road Transport Corporation (SLRTC) completely.
In his presentation, Deputy Minister of Transport and Aviation, Rex Bonapha said the authority will be providing services to the public transportation sector with vehicle owners expected to pay 3% tax yearly as stated in the Finance Act.
He said another objective is to ensure that the sector works in a harmonised manner as specific time will be given for drivers to leave and as well return to their respective points on a regular working day, even if they don’t have enough passengers to board the vehicles per day.
The deputy minister further stated that vehicle owners will be paying for their vehicle license and as well pay operator’s license as a public transport, to avoid people using their private vehicle to run as public transportation.
Members of Parliament from various aisles argued that the tax levied for the transport sector is but a pittance as the sector collects lot of monies from passengers without any regulations by the SLRTC.
Others argued that even if their taxes are increased or decreased,it would be difficult to pay by the regulators, adding that there are other means they will be collecting revenues.