Communique: Concerning the taxi driver strike

The General Secretary of the Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (PDGE) , Jeronimo Osa Osa Ecoro, has signed the communique issued on the regulatory measures implemented by the Government with respect to the taxi service. The entire communique is included and its content published.

The Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea is explaining to its Militants, Sympathisers and the People of Equatorial Guinea in general, the reasons for the regulatory measures implemented by the Government on taxi service vehicles, the sole aim of which is the provide definitive guarantees that the service will be safe for all citizens.

We have all been witnesses to the cases of the merciless delinquency which has taken place under the camouflage of many of these illegal taxis, with robberies, rapes of women, etc. It is not unusual, then, that many illegal taxis do not want to be regulated, so that they can continue their atrocities and continue to rob the innocent public.

However, despite the strike organised by these illegal taxi drivers, the Government of the PDGE will implement the regulation of taxis, as in any other civilised State in the world, because it is an obligation to protect the citizen.

In addition, knowing the reality of the taxi driver’s collective -the huge majority of which are honest, and only wish to continue with their activities- the Government of Equatorial Guinea has been understanding and flexible, establishing some minimum measures and control documents, in comparison with more strict and severe regulations in other nations of the world.

In recent years, with the development in our country and the unstoppable growth of our cities, cars of all types providing taxi services have multiplied.

As we all know, despite the minimum measures of control that in recent years have been imposed by the Government and municipal authorities, a good part of these taxis have completely ignored this regulation. For that reason, we have witnessed the proliferation of taxis camouflaged with paint; taxis with none of the necessary papers; taxis lacking the minimum safety conditions for users; even taxi drivers without a driving licence…

As a consequence, in recent months the Government has also received hundreds of complaints from male and female citizens who have suffered serious attacks in these illegal taxis, where there have even been murders. We have all been witnesses to the merciless delinquency which has taken place under the camouflage of many of these illegal taxis, with robberies, the rape of female passengers, the use of the vehicle to commit crimes, and even the current phenomenon of frequent fires in the neighbourhoods, which are being caused by these delinquents who hide in the illegal taxis in order to carry out these acts against innocent people. It is not unusual, therefore, that these illegal taxis do not want to be regulated, in order to continue to commit their atrocities and crimes, and continue to rob the population.

To prevent chaos and insecurity is an obligation of the PDGE Government.

Facing all these facts, and after having tried various means to establish measures of control, the Government has taken the firm decision to adopt a definitive regulation, as is the case in all civilised countries throughout the world, so that the taxi is a controlled and regulated citizens’ service, providing normal security measures.

To do this, the measures announced by the Government consist in taxi drivers identifying themselves and presenting a series of documents and accreditations, for both themselves and their vehicles, which certify both the ability to drive, as their identities, available at any moment, with the sole aim of guaranteeing ALL CITIZENS MINIMUM PERSONAL SAFETY.

The Government has also prohibited all those taxis that do not possess this professional authorisation and identification from working. These measures aim to purge delinquents who have infiltrated the taxi service.

While we are conscious that the measures may not be popular, or liked by everyone (especially the illegal taxis that are used in robberies), the PDGE Government knows that it is an obligation to implement these measures in order to protect the citizen.

Examples of taxi service regulation in other countries

The control measures taken to regulate this service are normal in any country in the world. But, In addition, knowing the reality of the taxi driver’s collective -the huge majority of which are honest, and only wish to continue with their activities- the Government of Equatorial Guinea has been understanding and flexible, establishing some minimum measures and control documents which allow for the identification of illegal taxis, and a single fixed tariff to legalise their situations.

We can compare the measures adopted n our country with other regulations in other nations, which are, in all cases, much stricter and more severe:

-Morocco: a driving licence held for at least 5 years is necessary, to guarantee the expertise of the driver, together with a series of medical and aptitude certificates, and many other documents. The Government grants licences to family members, widows of taxi drivers, or people in need. Not everyone may apply for a licence. If a licence is obtained, the taxi drivers must work under the directorates of the local taxi drivers’ associations.

-China: The majority of taxis in the cities in the country are the property of and are managed by agencies, to which the taxi drivers pay a fixed monthly franchise quota, which may rise to 8,000 Yuan (some 700,000 Franco CFA monthly).

-Spain: there is a special exam which only a few manage to pass. Those who pass can purchase the taxi driver’s licence, the price of which is around 150,000 Euro (almost 100 million Franco CFA), and many take on mortgages and bank loans which they have to pay for years. The taxi drivers have to pay many taxes monthly, such as the tax on the self-employed, a minimum of 200E (some 130,000 Franco CFA/month), apart from special car insurance. The collective transportation of passengers is not permitted.

Transport regulated by citizens

Following the request for requirements, essential so that in Equatorial Guinea the taxis are regulated, some taxi drivers -surely those who do not have the necessary documents in order to work- have organised this strike, threatening other colleagues who meet the necessary requirements, and thus impeding the taxi service for the citizen.

The promoters of this strike have not even opted to continue to negotiate with the Government in order to seek between them the best solutions with regards to the regulation of this transport service.

It is these taxi drivers, those promoting the strike, who are damaging those colleagues who have all their papers, and are causing great harm to their fellow citizens.

Despite this, the PDGE Government is going to move ahead in order to implement the normal regulation of the taxi, a step which is completely necessary in our country, on its way to development, in order to guarantee a public service which is controlled, safe, and has the trust of the population.

The legal taxi drivers themselves, those with licences, cars, documents and professional requirements, are the first who should support the regulation of the taxi for their own professional protection, against their illegal colleagues, who prejudice their profession and who are putting citizens in danger, together with the professional image of the entire collective. In fact, there ate thousands of people who have stopped using taxis, in recent months, due to all the problems of insecurity.

For that reason, and in the meantime, the PDGE and its Government is asking all citizens for understanding, patience and trust, as our sole aim is to keep the peace which prevails in the country, and will not hesitate to take decisions and seek solutions to the difficulties which our internal and external detractors never cease from trying to introduce into Equatoguinean society.

Source: Official Web Page of the Government of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea

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