Machakos County bans boda, waives taxes for operators over COVID-19 outbreak

Machakos County Government has banned boda boda operations in the County and waived all taxes for the operators as compensation to ease the burden of paying taxes even as coronavirus replicates its negative impact on the economy.

According to the County boss Dr. Alfred Mutua, all Boda boda, Maruti and Tuk Tuk operators have been banned in his County to prevent the spread of the virus.

The move was after Mutua held virtual meetings with members of Machakos County Security team, the Coronavirus Cabinet Subcommittee and other stakeholders.

“From Wednesday, March 25, 5 am, no Boda Bodas, Maruti or Tuktuks will be allowed to operate in Machakos County for the next two weeks. Social distance cannot be achieved while still riding on Boda Bodas as separation between the rider and passenger is zero to 1 mm.” Said Governor Mutua.

“Social distancing is critical if we are to avoid Wananchi getting infected. There is no way a boda boda rider is safe from being infected by a sick passenger and thereafter infecting hundreds.”

Even as the ban takes effect in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak, Mutua said his County and all its stakeholders were satisfied with a unanimous agreement to waive taxes on the operators for a nine-month period.

“To compensate and cushion them for the prevailing situation or loss of income, my Government is waiving all tax charges to Boda Bodas, Maruti and Tuk Tuks for the rest of the calendar year ( until December 31st, 2020).”

On March 20, Cabinet Secretary for Health Mutahi Kagwe urged Public Transport Services(PSV) operators to reduce the number of passengers they ferry on a daily basis to help in the fight against coronavirus.

Kagwe challenged the PSV operators to take up the initiative as one of the measures which will contribute to averting the spread of the virus which has since killed more than 14,000 people with over 342,000 cases confirmed globally.

A fourteen seater matatu will now carry only 8 passengers per trip, effective Monday to avoid the spread of Coronavirus.

25-seater vehicles were directed to carry only 15 passengers while 30 plus seater PSVs, the SGR and Commuter trains were ordered to maintain a 60% capacity with each trip.

“14 seater matatus will carry a maximum of 8 passengers, 25 seater vehicles to carry a maximum of 15 passengers, 30 seater vehicles and above to maintain a 60% maximum of seating capacity.” Said CS Kagwe.

Kagwe told PSV operators to ensure that passengers do not cluster at bus stops and challenged them to wash and fumigate the vehicles after each trip.

Kenya has so far reported 15 cases of coronavirus since the outbreak in the country on March 13.

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Lawrence Baraza is a prolific writer with competencies in Digital Media, Print, and Broadcast. Baraza is also a Communication Practitioner currently spearheading Digital content on Metropol TV's Digital Desk.

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