Driving instructors want the ban lifted so they can feed their families

While many other businesses have been allowed to resume operations, driving schools are yet to make the list leaving the instructors without work.
New Vision Driving School’s cars in the parking at Remera yesterday. Driving instructors want the ban lifted so they can feed their families. Craish Bahizi

Mohammed Nyamujonge resides in Kinyinya sector, Gasabo District with his extended family, which is dependent on him.

Since 2006, they have been earning a living from his profession as a driving instructor.

 

However, when driving schools were halted in mid-March due to Covid-19 pandemic hit the country, he was left without any source of income.

 

While many other businesses have been allowed to resume operations, as the country re-opens, driving schools are yet to make the list leaving the instructors without work.

 

“We cannot afford basic needs. Five months without working is an unbearable situation,” Nyamujonge said.

“My colleagues and I now leave home to just spend the day elsewhere so as to avoid being asked for things by our wives and children, which we can’t afford.”

Hassan Bizumuremyi who works for a driving school located in Remera sector, Gasabo District, is enduring similar challenges.

“I have to pay my rent, feed my family and pay for other basic needs, all of which is impossible as we speak. We are not making money, but some needs still need to be met,” he said. “We need government’s help in this regard.”

Bizumuremyi also noted that he couldn’t be classified as a vulnerable person to get basic needs support by the government during Covid-19 lockdown because he had some savings.

He proposes that driving instructors be included in the category of people who benefit from the government’s Covid-19 relief support that includes food.

On average, an instructor earns a gross income of between Rwf15, 000 and Rwf20, 000 every day.

For those who don’t own cars, on the average income, they have to pay Rwf10, 000 per day to the car owner.

Ready to adhere to Covid-19 guidelines

Nyamujonge said that considering that other services such as motorbike, taxi-cars and bus transportation have resumed operation, driving schools should also be considered.

“We have seen many transportation services, with more risks of spreading Covid-19 than us, being allowed to resume with adherence to Covid-19 preventive measures. The Government should put us into consideration as well,” he said.

Bizumuremyi also noted that they are ready to abide by any government’s directives that will be issued in bid to prevent Covid-19 spread while they are operating.

“We are now aware of the pandemic and how negligence of anyone can fuel its spread,” he said.

“Good enough, we teach grown-up people who, together with our efforts, can abide by any Covid-19 preventive directives by the government.”

Government to look into the issue in the near future

Earlier this week, Dr Daniel Ngamije, the Minister of Health told the press that the concerned stakeholders will do an assessment on whether driving schools should be allowed to give practical lessons, and then decide accordingly.

He said: “We will sit together with concerned institutions such as Rwanda National Police, Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) and representatives of driving teachers to examine whether there are any reasonable grounds to why they shouldn’t be given a go-ahead [resume operations.”

He added that: “Having said that, I can’t see any reason to stop them from operating if they fulfil all Covid-19 preventive requirements.”

Rwanda started easing the Covid-19 restriction in May.

Since then, reopening of services has been a gradual process.

However, before reopening a given activity, a health assessment is conducted and Covid-19 directives are issued to avoid possible hike in positive cases as a result of the resumption.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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