No more free parking in Bujumbura the capital

From November 1st, all public parking spaces are charged for all cars in Bujumbura. This new measure imposed by the Bujumbura city mayor did not go down well with vehicle owners.

All parking spaces are now chargeable to vehicle users.

All parking spaces are now chargeable to vehicle users.

Since the beginning of November, all the users of means of transport such as vehicles, motorcycles and bicycles in the Burundian capital are complaining about the recent measure to charge fees in the parking spaces. “The measure comes to worsen the situation which was already bad”, says one bicycle taxi driver met on the spot.

He indicates that the new tax introduced by the Bujumbura City Council is added to other taxes they pay in the municipality. “We have previously been obliged to buy cardigans for our identification for BIF13,000 each and the Bujumbura Mayor is adding fuel to the fire by imposing a new tax of BIF 2,000 per month while we always pay a tax of BIF 50 per day”, he says.

The same view is shared by motorbike taxi users who will pay BIF 5,000 per month according to the new measure. “We hardly get money for survival. Bad enough, we are not allowed to cross any bridge leading to Bujumbura city center where many people perform their daily activities”, complains one motorcycle taxi driver.

For them, that measure should be reviewed and motorcycle taxi users should be allowed to work freely in all the areas of the capital including the city center.

Vehicle users such as taxi drivers say their income was mostly based on the number of tourists that come to Burundi.

“With the current security situation, we have few clients. It will be difficult for us to pay parking fees that amount to BIF 15,000 per month while we hardly earn money to feed our family”, he says.

“An urgent need for consensual decision”

Bosco Minani, the chairman of the association of Burundi transport vehicle users -ATRABU says Bujumbura City Council has taken the decision without consulting them. “The decision has been communicated to us like other people. We didn’t appreciate it given that we were regularly paying municipality taxes each three months”, he says.

For him, if nothing is done, the transportation fees will increase. “The measure concerns all vehicles entering Bujumbura the capital. This means the governors may also impose the same measure in their respective provinces”, he says.

The chairman of ATRABU says his association doesn’t intend to reject the decision but adds that an inclusive meeting is urgent to finally converge on how the new tax will be paid.

Freddy Mbonimpa, the Bujumbura Mayor says the measure has been taken not only to increase the tax but also to secure vehicles parked in Bujumbura city center. “Those who will be in charge of parking spaces, they will also be responsible for the vehicles and the things inside”, he says.

Mbonimpa says paid transportation vehicles will pay parking fees according to their categories. The first category concerns trucks for local transportation which will pay BIF 100,000, Coaster type buses: BIF 30,000, “Hiace”type buses: BIF 21,000, tricycles [tuk-tuk] BIF 10,000 etc. For this category, the measure has come into force since November 1st. The second category concerns non paid transportation vehicles whose users will start to pay once parking spaces are ready. “They will pay a sum amounting to BIF 300 per hour. Otherwise, a sum of BIF 2000 will be paid for daily parking”, he says.