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Tech Expert calls for amendment of Road Traffic Act No. 11 of 2002

• The law should be amended because it does not favor the growth of the industry.
• Online Car-hailing services have become prominent local players in the economy.
• The market size of this industry across the globe is going to be about 213 billion in 2025

A Technology Expert says Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA)’s decision to enforce Road Traffic Act No. 11 of 2002 on operators of online car hailing services does not favor the growth of the industry.
Section 102 (i) of the Road Traffic Act No. 11 of 2002; provides that “No person shall use or cause or permit to be used any motor vehicle for the purpose of standing or plying for hire or as a public service vehicle for the carriage of persons unless there is in force in relation to the vehicle, a road licence authorizing such use.”

And speaking in an interview with Money FM News, Komeki Songwe said there is need to amend this law which has been in existence for the past 20 years as Zambia is now in the digital age and part of the fourth industrial revolution.

Mr. Songwe explained that drivers of the privately owned vehicles providing Online Car-hailing services have become prominent local players in the economy because they are also helping to push the country’s E-commerce agenda forward.

“The law that is being cited has been in existence for the past 20 years and I believe when it was enacted, it was meant to curb pirate taxis but since then, we have moved on and we are now in the digital age, we are in the fourth industrial revolution.”
“So what now has been enforced, I think is a law that should be amended because it does not favor the growth of this industry. The market size of this industry across the globe is going to be about 213 billion in 2025. Why should we as a nation be retrogressive and go behind and stifle the growth of such kind of business. Why should we as a nation be retrogressive and go behind and stifle the growth of such kind of business?” he wondered.
He advised RTSA to rescind the decision because the law does not favor the current dispensation of how Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are going to grow and also foster technology innovation.
Mr. Songwe also called on Ministry of Technology and Science as well the SME Ministry to intervene in the matter.
“If a bad law does not favor the current dispensation of how we are going to do business and grow as SMEs and also foster Technology innovation, we should really reconsider and rescind this process.”
“I’m calling on the Ministry of Technology and Science they have been reinstituted for a time like this and the SME Ministry should also come in because a lot of these people that are in this are entrepreneurs and they are using this as a revenue stream,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Mr. Songwe asked RTSA to give Online taxi Companies a special permit for a certain period of time until the law is reviewed because the two weeks ultimatum given for the drivers to acquire a Public Service Vehicle (PSV) license and other requirements is not enough.
He noted that it is not only a PSV license that drivers will be required to apply for but also other licenses and certifications such as tax clearance, bank statements and a Global satellite Positioning System (GPS) certification, which are not attainable in two weeks.
“A PSV License itself is not something that you get within two weeks. What RTSA has to think about now is that these Companies that have already acquired drivers, can they give them special permits for a certain period until you review this law because definitely, this is a digital taxi forum that has to be amended to suit or accommodate online taxi businesses,” Mr. Songwe advised.
RTSA has given all vehicle owners that have subscribed to online Car hailing services up to 30th June, 2022 to obtain Road Service Licenses from the Agency, after which the institution will start impounding all vehicles providing Online services without required licenses by 1st July, 2022, while owners will be prosecuted in accordance with the law.

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