By John Ogulei
Taxi Drivers and Boda-boda riders in Soroti City are worried that most of their Vehicles and motorcycles are going to be confiscated by banks and financial institutions due to failure to pay off loans as a result of hike in fuel prices.
Currently a liter of Petrol in most petrol stations in Soroti City is at 4040 shillings from 3850 shillings and diesel at 3850 shillings from 3450 shillings.
The boda boda riders and drivers are worried that if the government doesn’t come to their rescue, the financial institution will confiscate their assets.
Richard Oculi, the Soroti City Boda Boda association chairperson in an interview early this week told our reporter that the hike in prices is going to affect them business wise.
He said that whereas as boda boda riders they may opt to increase on transport costs, the industry that is dominated with over 2500 boda boda riders in Soroti is going to be complicated.
“Most riders in Soroti own motorcycles through loans and pay over 12,000/= or more daily. So with increase in fuel, business is going to be affected,” Oculi said.
He further added that, “We may decide to increase the fares but some riders will not accept and am very sure that financial institutions like Equity Bank, Tugende among others are going to take the motorcycles due to failure to pay loans in time.”
Oculi noted with concern that the sudden increase in fuel prices is going to infringe on the boda boda industry who are currently overwhelmed with challenges including high taxation.
Christopher Odeke, the Soroti Taxi Drivers Association Disciplinary committee chairperson also expressed his worries saying the burden is going to be high on them.
Odeke said that “There’s going to be a high burden on us as drivers and we are worried that the hike in fuel prices will affect the industry.” Odeke was however quick to add that they will transfer the burden to passengers.
“We are only waiting for the drivers to complain and we shall increase the prices. Our passengers will have to endure to bear the cost. Am also worried that banks are going to confiscate our Vehicles,” Odeke noted.
But an official from Equity Bank Uganda, one of the financial institutions that lends loans to both drivers and boda boda riders who preferred anonymity because she is not authorized to talk to the media told our reporter that the bank is yet to sit and review their clients complaints before taking a decision.
“As a bank, we are going to sit and review the issues affecting our customers before taking any action,” the official said.
Meanwhile, the Fuel stations in Soroti have attributed the hike in prices to various economic, political and social factors.