By ALISON ANIS
THE Government has been urged to assist in the development of the transport industry, especially the public motor vehicle (PMV) industry, in Port Moresby and other centres in order to see changes in the way people travel around the country.
PMV Owners and Operators Association president Peterson Doa has called on the Transport Ministry and the National Capital District Commission to assist PMV owners and operators by introducing loan schemes with low interest or some form of subsidies.
He said the 15-seater Coaster buses used as PMVs cost about K103,000 and only some individuals or groups could afford them.
“Most operators can not afford to replace their buses and have to find other ways and means to keep their business running because banks were charging very high interest,” Mr Doa said.
He said transport industry played a very important part in servicing the community but the Government had turned a blind eye to the industry and its operators.
“The Government should also consider introducing tax exemptions specifically on imported Coaster buses that are meant for use as public transport if it cannot subsidise the industry,” he suggested.
He said PMV buses and taxies contributed around K4 million a year to the State in registration fees but they had not received any kind of funding to help improve its services to the people.
Meanwhile, Mr Doa has questioned the Finance and Treasury Department on the delay in releasing outstanding levy fees to the association to help address the needs of PMV operators in Port Moresby.
According to Mr Doa, a transport levy fee of K24.50 for PMV owners and operators was approved and submitted by the Transport Department in 2002 through the Land Transport Board and should be paid to the association to help in addressing issues affecting operators.
“The K24.50 levy fee is built into the K115 for renewal of licenses paid by PMV operators and owners and has been in effect since 2002.
“But the money was paid directly to the Transport Department,” he said, adding that the association had not received any funds from the department since its formation by Transport Minister Don Polye.
Mr Doa said the department promised it would allow the association to collect the money through an appointed separate body but that never took place and the levy component part to the association was never paid.
“The total fees collected could amount to thousands of kina if you multiply the number of buses and taxies used in the city with the fee and backdate that to 2002,” Mr Doa said.
He added that if the association was well funded, it would assist in addressing issues affecting PMV operators and in subsiding the cost of running motor vehicles.