Minister of Transport and Communications, Brian Mushimba says the Statutory Instrument that will ban minibuses without seatbelts from operating will be enforced starting January 1, 2019, and not 2018.

Explaining the decision in an interview, Mushimba added that his ministry and the Ministry of Finance were working with the Zambia Revenue Authority to facilitate incentives for bus operators to purchase standard buses.

“SI 79 of 2016 requires all public service vehicles (whatever the kind) to have seat belts and the enforcement on this starts on January 1st 2019. The Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Finance with ZRA are working out incentives to facilitate the purchase of a new standard bus into the country that will have all the safety provisions to transport our citizens with dignity,” explained Mushimba.

“That’s the idea. You don’t do such a wholesale shift in the public safety on the roads and give people short time. I signed this SI in November 2016 and will only be enforced in January 2019; ample time for the industry to react without any panic.”

The minister expressed concern that people were alarmed by the government’s decision and assured citizens that there was no need for both commuters and buss operators to panic.