By Henry Sekanjako and Joyce Namutebi
Parliament has ordered for the signing of a new agreement between, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), local governments, Wakiso district, Mukono Municipal council and Pioneer Easy Bus (PEB) to improve service delivery .
The directive follows a petition by Mukono, Mpigi and Wakiso districts seeking the intervention of parliament to review the traffic and road safety (City Bus services) regulations, 2011 and to inquire into the validity /legality of the agreement appointing Pioneer Easy Bus as an agent to operate bus services in Kampala metropolitan area by KCCA.
Debating a report by parliament’s committee on public service and local government which handled the petition on Tuesday , Parliament resolved that the contract be renegotiated, taking into account operational losses incurred by the local governments and Pioneer Easy bus expectations of the stakeholders and the immediate and long term plans and policies of government.
“There should be renegotiations of the contract, we want these buses but we need a clear policy, the agreement was not done by adequate planning,” said Medard Ssegona the MP Busiro East.
Parliament recommended that the duration of the new contract should be long enough covering between 25 -30 years to enable the private company at least amortize its initial investment costs.
“Pioneer Bus was disabled , it was asked to provide over 500 buses but it only provided 100 buses , if government doesn’t came in to meet its obligation , this public private partnership will not work,” said James Kakooza the MP Kabula county.
Pioneer Easy Bus signed an agreement with the defunct Kampala city council (KCC) in 2010 for a period of five years. It was agreed that the term would be extended for another five year term after satisfactory performance in the first year.
“KCCA did not evaluate the performance of the contract after the first year, they neither terminated it nor extended it to its full term of five years,” noted Raphael Magyezi the deputy chairman local government’s committee.
Parliament observed that the process of identifying the bus stops, stages, roads, and shelters to be used by the operator was never done and were never gazatted.
It was also observed that the exclusivity on the awarded routes in the agreement was never enforced
Parliament resolved that, in the new agreement districts like Mukono, Wakiso and Mpigi be catered for, for a fare sharing of revenue, employment opportunities and infrastructure development.
Last year, district leaders from Mpigi, Mukono and Wakiso petitioned the parliamentary Local government’s committee arguing that PEB was only paying KCCA for their part of the concession and not the other districts. Although the report mentions Mpigi as one of the districts in the concession, PEB has never operated in that district.
Under the concession, PEB was supposed to provide bus transport services to all four districts at an affordable and sustainable fare, under the Metropolitan Physical Planning Authority.
In exchange, the districts were supposed to offer special lanes, in which the buses would operate exclusively.
The concession is silent on how much PEB was required to pay as license fees to the four districts, although KCCA later demanded for Sh 300,000 per month per bus. However the monies have been accumulating in arrears to the tune of up to Sh 2bilion out of which only Sh 30m has been paid to KCCA.
However KCCA minister, Frank Tumwebaze on Tuesday told parliament that they have been waiting for parliament’s recommendations regarding the operation of pioneer Easy Bus for a way forward.