Taxi warning on evasion

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 February, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 February, 2000, 12:00am

Taxi groups have warned there might be mass evasion of the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) by drivers.

The Taxi Operators' Association, whose members make up about half the taxi force, said many drivers had indicated they would not join a scheme.

Chairman David Leung Siu-cheong said: 'Some drivers, especially those of the younger generation, see taxi-driving as a temporary occupation and once the economy is booming again, they will look elsewhere for jobs that give better financial returns.' There are about 18,000 licensed taxis, with about 203,000 licence-holders eligible to drive them. Drivers either have their own taxis or rent them from operators.

In either case, they are deemed self-employed under the MPF and are required to make the minimum five per cent monthly contribution if their earnings exceed $4,000.

Taxi drivers earn on average about $7,000 to $8,000 a month.

Northwest Area Taxi Drivers' & Operators' Association chairman Wong Wing-chung said drivers would think of ways to skip the schemes.

'Do you think they will wish to make monthly contributions to a fund, the amount which, after years of inflation, may only provide enough living expenses for two to three years after they retire?' he said.

Kowloon Taxi Drivers Free Union chairman Leung Wing-sun said many drivers were worried about the scheme providers.

'The drivers are not sure whether the insurance companies will prepare their MPF schemes since they earn very little and will only be able to make a very small contribution each month,' he said.