TRUCK drivers in Fort Portal town have been forced out of business by high weighbridge fees imposed by the transport ministry in Mubende town.
Drivers, who transport goods for business people from Kampala to Fort Portal and Bundibugyo, are the most affected.
A weigh bridge is used to weigh vehicles to establish their load.
Revenue levied on the truck depends on the load the truck is carrying.
In the past, trucks carrying 25 tonnes were charged sh150,000, but it has been increased to sh300,000. Trucks carrying 30 tonnes are charged between sh500,000-sh600,000.
Abbas Mugisa, a truck driver in Fort Portal, said he had decided to park his truck because of the high fees. â€œI have decided to park my vehicle until the charges are reduced.â€
Mugisa said the high fees had affected his income because he was charged over sh350,000 whenever he transported merchandise from Kampala to Fort Portal.
â€œIf I fail to pay, my truck and merchandise are impounded by the officials,â€ he lamented.
Steven Souza, a driver in Bundibugyo, claimed that when they pay the fees, they are not given receipts, while other drivers are given receipts that are not stamped.
Abdul Karim Tusiime, the chairperson of the lorry drivers in Fort Portal, said because of the high fee, some drivers had lost their jobs since the truck owners think they are being cheated by the drivers.
â€œSome of our colleagues have been sacked because their bosses think that they are cheating them.
â€œThe bosses donâ€™t believe what they drivers tell them. We are in trouble,â€ the truck driversâ€™ chief said.
David Karamagi, a truck owner, asked the Minister of Transport, John Nasasira, to intervene in the matter and stop the high fees. The high revenue has also affected some owners of businesses in the town.
Christine Katusime, a businesswoman on Bwamba Road who purchases her commodities from Kampala, said she was forced to increase the price of the products because of high charges levied at the weigh bridge.
Faiz Saleh, another trader in Kisenyi, said he had resorted to using buses and taxis when transporting his commodities to Fort Portal.
When contacted, Steven Wasswa, an official from the transport ministry at the weigh bridge, said the high fees were levied because the trucks damage the road.
Wasswa said the money collected from the trucks was used for road repairs.
Asked why the drivers were not given receipts, Wasswa said they do not have receipt books.
High fees force truckers out of business