- Observers see strike as hefty taxes catching up with gov’t
- Gov’t has undertaken to respond on Friday
- Will it be victory for the public transport industry?
The public transport strike that ensued yesterday is a symptom of the unbearable burden of the recent raft of increased taxes and wider levies imposed on citizens that may compel the government to retreat on that front, commentators have said.
The strike brought some intra-city businesses and movement to a standstill as operators demanded attention and action from the government. Many commuters were stranded at bus stops across Gaborone while those who could slogged it afoot to their destinations, including to and from places of work.
In the circumstances, the government promised to answer to the grievances and proposals of the public transport industry.
“We met with the government and they have promised to revert by Friday on the issues we raised with them,” said the Chairman of the Botswana Combi and Taxi Association, Edson Tlhomelang, yesterday.
But the question that remains is whether the government will backtrack on the taxes imposed and if so how far it will go. The Botswana Combi and Taxi Association wants decreases in fees for a permit renewal (that has been hiked from P300 to P800), a roadworthy licence and a professional driver’s permit, among other things.
The organisation also wants commuter fares increased. Here the government faces a more serious dilemma because the demand entraps it between the transport industry and commuters who are also in a tight squeeze because of the new tax regime.
In the meantime, the transport industry is hoping for a positive response from the government on Friday.