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The downside to new rules on digital taxis

By Brian Njao | December 15th 2020

Much has changed in the past months. As businesses grapple with challenges brought on by Covid-19, digital transformation has been accelerated across the world, including in Kenya, which has proved useful.

This transformation ought to be encouraged owing to the multitude of benefits that technology activates in society.

These technological trends are moving faster than regulation and in the process unlocking innovative business models, applications, and services. This is why governments and regulators must ensure that their policy framework supports innovation and business growth as opposed to stifling the same.

For example, the Ministry of Transport and the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) have recently reinforced this sentiment in their plans to develop a legal framework for the regulation of certain aspects of ride-hailing companies’ operations. 

The draft regulations have the potential to bring several benefits to the industry, as well as the Kenyan economy. While Uber is supportive of positive regulation, we are particularly concerned about a clause proposing a 15 per cent commissions cap. If it comes into law, it would make it the most restrictive cap in the world, while adding unnecessary barriers of entry for Kenyans for whom ride-sharing platforms offer a means for earning a living. As a country, we are still trying to recover from the effects of Covid-19; we must explore ways of improving and growing the industry with progressive and innovative regulations.

Over the past few months, we have showcased our commitment to drivers, riders and the community at large by providing much-needed information and support to curb the spread of the virus. In Kenya, we are supporting drivers by providing information on Covid-19 as well as providing financial support for up to 14 days for drivers who become infected with the virus. To prevent infection with coronavirus, we have distributed surface sanitisers to drivers for day-to-day use. We also remain committed to using our platform to help unlock economic opportunities for drivers.

As the country navigates the path to economic recovery, we need to use the pandemic as a lesson to create opportunities for investment for the rebuilding of critical sectors and industries.

- The writer is Country Manager for Uber in Kenya

Covid 19 Time Series


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