Ndola bus drivers protest over taxes, regret voting for Lungu

Ndola bus drivers protest over taxes, regret voting for Lungu.

WE regret voting for Edgar Lungu and the PF because they lied that taxes for bus operators will be conducive and fairly low, protesting Ndola bus drivers said on Thursday.

Scores of bus drivers parked their buses, staged protests and blocked other buses from loading at Mulungushi Bus Station, leaving hundreds of commuters stranded.

Many commuters were forced to walk to their respective destinations because of the bus drivers’ protest.

“Today, no buses will load. Go and tell President Edgar Lungu that bus drivers are not working because of the lies of his government on taxes. Remember that we were paying exorbitant amounts to ZRA in terms of presumptive taxes but in November last year, the President revoked those taxes. We don’t know if it was merely for political expedience, because we are surprised that the very unreasonable and unjustified amounts have come back today,” a representative of bus drivers, Chishala Katongo, said on Friday.

The Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) had introduced the presumptive tax on bus and taxi operators who were to pay between K1,600 and K19, 700 per month.

But President Lungu in November last year revoked the law that imposed presumptive tax on bus and taxi operators.

However, the decision by ZRA to start collecting this tax forced bus and taxi operators on the Copperbelt to protest, saying paying the presumptive taxes was cumbersome and costly.

“This PF government is not considerate and does not care for us. They told us in categorical terms last year that the tax has been revoked. Does this mean that they just wanted votes? Now that elections are over, his [President Lungu’s] boys, ZRA, are back on us! Tell them that we regret voting for the PF and President Edgar Lungu,” said Katongo, who is a bus driver.

The bus drivers also manhandled four unidentified PF cadres who removed the barricade and ordered the buses to start loading.

“This station is not for cadres! Are these the jobs your president promised you? Don’t play with us. If you don’t have a bus, leave the station and take your PF politics away. We are suffering! Fuel is up, mealie-meal is up! Everything is costly, including paying ZRA, and you come telling us to load, don’t be funny! If you love your family, leave us in peace,” a driver, Pius Bwalya, warned the PF cadres.

The drivers vowed not to resume operations and that the main bus station would remain shut until State House and ZRA officials address them.