Minister Ganoo appeals to taxi operators to register with TOWF

Minister Ganoo appeals to taxi operators to register with TOWF
Minister Ganoo appeals to taxi operators to register with TOWF

Africa-Press – Mauritius. Taxi operators are called upon to register under the Taxi Operators Welfare Fund (TOWF) in accordance with the the Taxi Operators Welfare Fund Act so as to benefit from an array of facilities and projects geared towards enhancing their well-being, said the Minister of Land Transport and Light Rail, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Mr Alan Ganoo.
He was speaking, this afternoon, at a press conference in Port-Louis in presence of the Chairman of the Taxi TOWF, Mr Parvez Nunnoo, and other personalities.
Minister Ganoo recalled that the Taxi Operators Welfare Fund Act was introduced in 2021 and the TOWF was established to cater for the economic and social well-being of taxi operators. The TOWF provides for a range of benefits to its members namely, a one-off death grant of Rs 30,000; educational, hardship case and insurance schemes as well as other forms of financial assistance, training, and leisure activities. Budget 2021-2022 provided a Rs 800 000 to for the successful start of the Fund, he added.
The Minister further dwelt on the implementation of several governmental measures for the welfare of taxi operators. They comprise: taxi desks at hotels with more than 50 rooms capacity; ensuring tour operators are restricted to pick-up and drop-off only at hotel premises; regular crack down operations to curb down illegal transport operators; 100% duty free facilities for purchase of taxi car every 4 years; special one-off VAT exemption of up to Rs 100,000 for acquisition/replacement of taxi car; and loan facilities of up to Rs 3 million for purchase of electric cars.
Nevertheless, the Minister observed that out of 87 marked hotels, only 19 hotels have set up taxi desks. He called on the hotel owners to set up their hotel desks at the earliest to ease the difficulties faced by taxi owners.
Minister Ganoo also spoke of the special benefits provided to taxi operators amid the COVID-19 pandemic and in connection with M V Wakashio including the Self –Employed Assistance Scheme of Rs 5,287; one off grant of Rs 10,000; extension of replacement period for taxis based at hotels and airports from 10 years to 16 years; and Rs 10,200 to each impacted taxi operator.
As regards taxi location issues at the Urban Victoria Terminal, the Minister underlined that the problem has been solved and that a specific space has been allocated to them which is easily accessible to commuters.
For his part, Mr Nunnoo indicated that since the creation of the Fund in January 2022, some 3500 out of 7000 taxi drivers have already registered and as at date, the Fund has a bank balance of some Rs 4.9 million.
The “TOWF is a welfare fund, like other welfare funds that operate in other economic sectors such as the Employees Welfare Fund, the Fishermen Welfare Fund’’, he said. Mr Nunnoo encouraged taxi operators to register with the Fund and benefit from the facilities and also to allow them to operate without any concerns as regards the renewal of their licences.

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