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Drivers Allege Sabotage Of Unified Taxation System

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Following the recent introduction of harmonised taxation system by the Rivers State Board of Internal Revenue, compelling commercial drivers to pay N300 daily, commercial drivers are lamenting the harassment and forceful collection of additional fees by road transport unions and other associations.
The Tide reports that the unified taxation system was intended to abrogate the multiple taxation regime, with a view to ensuring that drivers pay N300 daily to the covers of the state government to get ticket that would make them ply any route in the state.
The Tide investigation however, revealed that commercial drivers in various locations pay for as much as five tickets, amounting to about N3,000 in a day as against the N300 approved by the Board of Internal Revenue.
Speaking to The Tide, recently, Vitalus Onyema, a commercial driver, who plies Trans-Amadi route said, “We are paying double ticket, about five different tickets, amounting to N3,000 daily as against the governments approved N300 only. The National Union chairman in this area uses thugs to force us to buy their tickets, thereby sabotaging the efforts of government.”
In his view, another driver, John Ibim, lamented that “we are forced by the union people to buy tickets for 200 maintenance, Obio/Akpor, Phalga, community and National Union of Road Transport Workers, all amounting to N3,100 plus the government N300 scratch card daily. Most of us are driving on hire purchase and before you can afford to pay the principal owner of the vehicle N1.6 million, you have already paid N1.2 million to unions”
Boma Okujagu who plies Slaughter to Abuloma said, “the touts engaged by these groups will not want to know whether you have fuel or not, but the ticket money. There are some of the union members that have battons and log of wood in their hands, before you resist them, they have battered your vehicle or even break your head with it. Yesterday, they recruited some cult boys and they injured some of our drivers. We suggest the money should be kept at N1,500 to cover both government and these other groups”
In another development, Keke drivers plying Rumuokoro-Rumuagholu route in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area have also cried out that they were forced to buy three different tickets every day apart from the N200 paid to the state government.
However, a NURTW official who spoke to The Tide on condition of anonymity, said “we are not thwarting governments’ order because the union must survive as the government survives. The multiple taxation is only against the double collection of stickers and tickets from one local government area to the order, meaning that the N300 scratch card of government covers the drivers any where they go. There is no time government ban NURTW not to collect their union dues. So, they must pay their daily union dues as long as the union exists”

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Transport

Road Travel In Nigeria Nightmarish – Stakeholders

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Ahead of the Yuletide, the Public Transport Owners of Nigeria Association (PTONA) last Monday, described traveling on Nigerian roads as ‘close to a nightmare’ as insecurity and large numbers of heavy-duty trucks constitute major problems on the country’s highways.
The association also said there is widespread discontent in the land as 95 per cent of the Nigerian population travel by roads as most cannot afford air travel.
Addressing Babatunde Fashola, the Minister of Works and Housing during a working visit, Engr. Isaac Uhunmwagho, PTONA National President, lamented that ‘the amalgamation of human traffic, goods trailers, thousands of petroleum tankers all on the road at the same time is causing a total grinding of traffic to zero speed in the cities and highways’.
“We acknowledge that the responsibility of your ministry is to provide the road infrastructure to enable our citizens and goods to smoothly and efficiently move between various locations in Nigeria.
“Despite all the grandeurs road projects in the country, the exercise of moving around in the country especially for our fellow Nigerians is close to a nightmare”.
Engr. Uhunmwagho said that the association is strongly in support of the reintroduction of Toll on all highways in the country, stressing that apart from generating self-sustaining charges for maintenance the tolls if reintroduced would also provide punitive charges for heavy-duty trucks which shortens the life span of the nation’s highways.
The association also urged the Federal Government to issue an order prohibiting movement of heavy-duty trucks in the day time, adding if the heavy-duty trailers and tankers are apportioned to move in the nights, and passengers move in the daytime hours, both passengers and heavy-duty trailers will be getting to their destinations faster.
PTONA further urged the federal government to consider working towards self-sustaining systems devoid of government funding for the roads, stressing that the biggest transportation corporation in the United Kingdom operates almost totally on their own funds from ticket fees.
Responding, Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, assured the association that most of the concerns raised were already being taken care of by the government, urging them to exercise patience as there is time between commencement of work and completion.
Fashola, however, lamented that the government is constrained by inadequate funds and expected to be doing a lot of work at the same time.
He also charged members of the association to also endeavor to help the ministry report spots where the roads are failing to enable the government to appropriately tackle the situations on time.
The minister hinted that the government shall reintroduce tolls, but only when the roads are properly fixed, adding that most of the ongoing road networks already have toll designs embedded in them.
“We get reports from our comptrollers across the states but we expect you also to give us reports on the exact places where the roads are failing to ensure they are in line with reports from our comptrollers.
If you cannot get the exact kilometer photograph the place or describe it by the next village. This will enable work better for you because that is why we are in government, to solve the problems “ he said.

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Transport

Lagos Public Transport To Run On Gas In 2020 – Commissioner

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Public transport in Lagos state would run on gas from next year, Commissioner of Energy and Mineral Resources, Olalere Odusote, has said.
Odusote, who disclosed this in Lagos at an event organised by Enyo Retail and Supply for Energy Correspondents, explained that the initiative to power public transport in Lagos, was driven by the desire of the current administration to deepen the use of gas in fixing infrastructure in the state.
He also said the current administration in Lagos was determined to promote clean energy and deepen its use in Lagos.
According to him, about 213 schools in the state are currently benefitting from solar energy, while the administration is making spirited efforts to bring in more schools into the mix.
The commissioner also expressed the desire of the current administration to create enabling environment for oil companies in the state in line with its campaign for ease of doing business
Also speaking, Managing Director of Enyo Retail and Supply, Abayomi Awobokun, expressed his company’s desire to add value to the nation’s downstream sector through service delivery and investment therein.
He said the outgoing year was an encouraging one for his company, adding that Enyo would strive to perform better in 2020.

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Transport

Yuletide: Ogun FRSC Deploys 1,700 Personnel For Special Patrol

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The Ogun Command of Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) says it has deployed 1700 personnel comprising special and regular marshals for its special patrol during Yuletide period.
The state Sector Commander of FRSC, Mr Clement Oladele, made this known in an interview with The Tide in Ota, Ogun last Monday.
Oladele said that the special patrol would hold across the state from December19 to January 20 to stem road crashes.
According to him, the exercise will focus on speeding; dangerous driving; wrongful overtaking; lane indiscipline and use of cell phone while driving.
Oladele listed others as: Seat belt violation; overloading violation; Tyre violation (expired/ substandard).
He said they include speed limiting violation; unlatched vehicles violation; child restraint violation; passengers manifest violation by commercial vehicles and use of drugs and intoxicating alcoholic beverages while driving.
The sector commander said the presence of its personnel would be felt on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway; Sagamu-Benin Road; Lagos-Abeokuta Road; Abeokuta-Ijebu-Ode and Sango-Ota-Idiroko International Corridor to ensure free flow of traffic for travellers.
Oladele also said that the traffic rest areas had been established at Mowe; Sagamu; Ogere; Ogunmakin; Ijebu-Ode; Itori; Ota and Abeokuta, where tired travellers could briefly rest before continuing their journeys.
“The FRSC will implement a robust patrol exercise by deploying 32 patrol vehicles; five patrol motor bikes; a life support ambulance and a heavy duty tow truck to ensure safety of lives and property.
“We are also embarking on 24 hours patrol surveillance and night rescue teams on all corridors in Ogun and its environs to check excesses of motorists and prevent avoidable crashes during yuletide,” he said.
The FRSC boss advised motorists travelling during this period to be extra careful and ensure their journey were properly planned, with their vehicles routinely serviced.
He also advised them to pay special attention to the construction areas where overtaking was prohibited and maximum speed was pegged at 50 kilometres per hour, especially at the construction zones where traffic was diverted.
Oladele also cautioned the motorists against wrongful overtaking and driving against traffic, saying that anyone caught flouting traffic rules and regulations would be several penalised.

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