Uber, Digital Taxis May Be A Pyramid Scheme – MPs

Uber drivers during their demonstration in Nairobi on February 23, 2017.

A key parliamentary committee has warned that mobile phone taxi services provider Uber could be fleecing Kenyans through a pyramid-like scheme.

The Transport Committee, which is probing operations of digital taxis in Kenya, says Parliament must come up with tough regulations to manage the sector.

The committee is looking into a petition by the Kenya Taxi Cab Association seeking amendments to the Traffic Act and enactment of a model traffic legislation for the counties to ensure equitable regulation of the taxi subsector.

The panel, chaired by Starehe MP Maina Kamanda, said it will ensure fairness in pricing among taxi operators to spur job creation and economic growth.

The committee also said it will summon the Kenya Revenue Authority to find out if Uber is tax compliant, amid claims of evasion. Only contracted drivers reportedly pay the 16 per cent VAT, while the firm pockets tax-free profits.

“We can’t allow our people to suffer in another pyramid scheme to take over this country in the name of Uber taxis,” Kamanda said.

Independent taxis say digital taxis such as Uber pick and drop passengers anywhere, giving them undue advantage, given that the former operate from designated and controlled points.

They want Parliament to come up with uniform regulations to manage all taxis operating in all counties, which will compel Uber to brand their vehicles and also pick customers at specific points like other taxis.

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