MANCHESTER, Jamaica - Taxi Associations in Manchester and St Elizabeth are calling on the Ministry of Finance to quickly resolve issues with the portal for the Public Passenger Vehicle operators grant.
Last week, the portal was opened for taxi operators to apply for $25,000 grants as part of the Government’s promise to cushion the effects of high fuel prices.
However, the operators say they faced challenges with inputting their tax registration number on the portal last week and now the site has been temporarily closed to address certain technical difficulties according to an advisory from the Ministry of Finance.
President of the Central Manchester Taxi Association Shirley Johnson said his members are facing hard times.
“The Government came out and made a promise, so members have been looking for it. The first time the WeCare thing came out is just some people got it…. We are waiting to see what will happen. I have only one member who got through after spending all night and half a day trying,” he said.
“The gas price is killing us and the roads are so bad. Then you have the examiner and Transport Authority. Some of the members, although they have their badge and their vehicles are licensed, they still hide from the police and Transport Authority. Nuh care what the members do they still have problems,” he added.
“It is dread out here on my members,” he said.
President of the Southern Taxi Association Charles Powell is sceptical about the grant.
“This $25,000 business, to be honest with you, at all times when Government promise the transport sector something we never get it or we always have some issues when we fi get it, so this is just another repeat of itself from the Government towards the sector,” he said.
“It is a wait-and-see situation. The first thing is you must use you tax registration number weh Government give you. You use it and it a give problem, then what is the sense?” he asked.
Just under 17,000 taxi operators are set to benefit from the grant according to the Jamaica Information Service.
- Kasey Williams