By Nna Anulumadu

The Urban Drivers Welfare Association of Anambra State (UDWAAS) has commended the revenue policy instituted by the Anambra State government recently.UDWAAS gave the commendation after its executive meeting held in Onitsha, Anambra State.The association embarked on a sensitisation exercise to urge members to support the Anambra State government’s policy on the new revenue for commercial transport operators.During the exercise, it went round major commercial motor parks which included Upper Iweka, Afor Nkpor, Ugwunwasike, Nkwelle, Ogidi Building Material and other strategic parks where they met their drivers en masse and urged them to register their vehicles and begin to pay the monthly stipulated payment.Addressing newsmen shortly after the exercise, the president of the association, Prince Moses Ohanebo, stated that the association deemed it necessary to enlighten their members more on the new policy of the state government as regards payment of internally generated revenue (IGR) by the commercial drivers.“We want to use this awareness to urge our members to queue up in what the present administration in the state has told them. The government has said that everybody should undergo the on-going biometric registration and after that, they start paying the stipulated monthly revenue which includes shuttle buses 25,000 naira and big buses 30,000 naira respectively. Let everybody start paying it to enable our governor to commence work. The payment should be made directly to the government not to individuals. We know that it would be cumbersome on our members to pay. Some have already started agitating against it, insulting us, saying that the amount is too much and we are thieves. But, it is not true. What the governor wants is to help us. Before, our people paid more money on a daily basis but now, the governor has reduced it to 1000 daily daily. But the only difference is that it is paid in bulk. We are appealing to them to start paying first so that whatever we want to plead to the government, they would listen to us.”The president further warned drivers never to plan any protest, stating that whoever tries it should be roughly handled by their union and later handed over to the government for prosecution.”Let nobody engage in any protest. If you try it, you will be dealt with. Nobody is above government order. If you cannot comply with the payment, it is better you park your vehicle in your yard. But if you insist that you will ply on government roads, you must pay it.”He further revealed that the union executives are contemplating on pleading to the government to permit them to create books for the purpose of saving money for the drivers so that it would be easy for them to meet up with the monthly payment. He also said the union would be happy if government could adjust the method of the payment for their members.“Some members were accusing us that we executives do not represent them well. They contended that, how could a driver who might sustain an accident and is admitted for months in the hospital pay for those months,  or somebody who parked his vehicle in the mechanic workshop for six months  pay for the months? Also, those who might travel to their villages and stay up to 2 or 3 months, how can such  people pay for those months? What we told them was, you people should first start paying, that all the complaints would be attended to.” Prince Ohanebo noted that Governor Soludo has a bright plan to reposition the state and he would need resources to do it. He added that with internally generated revenue, the governor would go a long way.In their separate opinions, the general secretary of the association, Mr. Ifeanyi Ogbonna, and Upper Iweka UDWAAS branch chairman, Mr. Anthony Ugwube, praised the government’s initiatives and urged all the drivers to comply for their own betterment.

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