.The matatu sector is probably one of the major employers in our country. It currently temporarily employs more than a hundred thousand mostly young people, and also helps in securing jobs for thousands of mechanics and petrol stations attendants across the country. Over the past ten years, our industry has seen investment growing by over hundred percent. This has been largely due to the in investors confidence that came alive after introduction of the first face of the changes the government has promised to implement in the transport sector on the road map to realizing vision 2030.
The growth came with many advantages as well as it’s share of uncertainty. To some investors, especially those who came in, after the famous Michuki rules, Many watched millions of shillings going down the drain as their investment faded due to poor management and corruption; and were left heavily indebted. There are others who started with as little as 500/ thousands and have been smiling all the way to the banks ever since. In one of my posts in this blog, I tried to explain to would-be investors about the pros and cons of investing in the matatu industry. There are those who call me for more advice and I’m really happy that there are those who followed my advice and are making profit.
There are still others who have become victims because of the government’s failure to put in place laws to curb motor vehicle theft.This has became a major concern and matatu investors are forced to get comprehensive insurance to cover their investments where-as there is a cheaper option that can still ensure that passengers are insured and also what a matatu owner makes per month.
When one 14seater matatu is stolen, somebody loses more than a million shillings in a day. Regardless of where the money came from, this is the biggest threat to any would be investor,since the government has not yet given us a reason to build confidence in the security.Corruption has also been a major setback for many investors as stolen vehicles find ways to get back on the road.With the latest technology, it is possible to ensure that every vehicle is specifically connected to the owner and the information available to police computer system. The system would then be updated with all the details about the vehicle and the make, accidents and traffic violation records etc.
This would greatly protect the investors from buying stolen or un-roadworthy vehicles. At the click of the mouse, the police would know from the registration number; the identity of the owner his/her address, the engine number, chassis number etc. It would then be easy to know where to start looking for a hit – N -run driver.
All major spare parts like body parts and engines must then be recorded on entry to the country. And their serial numbers uploaded to the system.It would then make more sense if the police conducted daily operations on all the roads in the country, to restore stolen investments to the rightful owners.
I believe it’s about time the traffic department changes hands and we bring in private entities who will use technology and better infrastructural designs for our roads to control traffic and reduce accidents. The government can then use the firearms trained numbers to boost security.
Traffic offenders should not be punished by sending them to prison or charging them grossome amount of money; why not withdraw their driver’s licenses, or suspension for a curtain period instead of congesting our already congested prisons. This would discourage drivers from break traffic laws since there would be no selective justice or monetary advantage. The police roadblocks would then be more effective as check points for regular crackdown on those who drive without this vital document and un-roadworthy vehicles as well as those that are suspected to be stolen.