Weighed down by serious economic challenges and poor infrastructure, private transport companies in the country say they may have no choice but to increase fares by as much as 70% to stay in business.
The transporters stated this at a stakeholders’ meeting in Lagos put together by the Association of Private Transport Companies of Nigeria (APTCON).
They lamented that the high cost of maintaining their fleet and poor state of roads in the country among other challenges have greatly increased their cost of doing business, threatening their ability to stay afloat.
The transporter agreed, that “as a means of survival, to increase transport fares by 70%, beginning end of third quarter 2016, if no immediate help or support comes from government and its agencies”.
Stakeholders at the meeting included the FRSC, LASTMA, NARTO, God Is Good Motors (GIGM), Chisco Transport, Libra Motors, Cross Country, Eagle Transport, GUO Transport, Ekeson, EFEX Executive, First Tarzan Motors and Ecobus.
Others were Jetvan Automobiles, Toyota Nigeria ltd, Goddy Edosa Motors, Fairplus International, Greener Line, Harmony Transport, TRACAS, Okeyson Motors and Ohomba Line, as well as Access and Wema Banks, among others.
A communiqué released at the end of the APTCON stakeholders’ meeting noted the following:
1, That road transportation remains the most visible and effective means of moving people and goods within the Nigerian economy.
2, That the road transport sector has, over the years, suffered severe neglect with poor attention paid by successive governments to development of appropriate infrastructure.
3, That the absence of decent infrastructure has been a major setback for efficient delivery of service and value in the road transport sector.
4, That, being in the throes of economic recession, road transport operators have seen their little margins completely wiped away by inflation, rising cost of funds, double taxation, unstable value of the Naira as well as unnecessary harassments and extortion by security operatives.
5, That the prostrate state of the automotive industry has made importation of passenger buses not only prohibitive but unsustainable.
6, That, in the face of poor Return-on-Investment (ROI), the road transport business is in danger of imminent collapse with attendant job losses and damaging impact on the economy.
The group therefore resolved as follows:
1, To alert government and its agencies on the continued relevance and strategic importance of the road transport sector to the overall well-being of the Nigerian economy.
2, To fully mobilize its members to press for urgent rehabilitation of dilapidated infrastructure hindering efficient delivery of service and value to the Nigerian public
3, To seek Federal Government’s immediate intervention by way of a bailout to cushion the harsh business climate and return the industry to sustainability.
4, To seek import reliefs, where necessary, for its members as a short-term measure for fleet replenishment while the automotive industry receives government attention.
5, As a means of survival, to increase transport fares by 70%, beginning end of third quarter 2016, if no immediate help or support comes from government and its agencies.
6, To set up a committee for the harmonization of membership and to rally all operators for the execution of all defined tasks as may be resolved.