The current economic downturn being witnessed in Nigeria and the rising inflation figure is taking another dimension in the road transport sector,as players said their operations cost increased to a record high of more than 80 per cent in recent time.
The players, under the aegis of Association of Private Transport Company Owners of Nigeria (APTCON), said in Lagos yesterday that a 40 per cent increase on road transport fare effective Monday, September 19 is inevitable if the sector must remain in operation.
According to the group, the prevailing harsh operating business environment has pushed compelled them to implement the increase as the local economy was showing no signs of stability while international transactions were becoming increasingly difficult to close.
Convener of the association, Henrietta Onwuegbuzie, had said though the road transport sector remain one of the major alternatives to movement of goods and people in the country, lack of regulation crippled its contribution to national development.
“As we are all aware, the global economy is currently facing a downturn that has greatly affected most countries in the world. As an industry, we are not exempt from the crisis as in recent months, our operating costs have risen significantly”, the group said in a statement.
This is coming after the Association of Luxurious Buses owners of Nigeria (LUBAN) announced an increase in bus fares by 35 per cent for all their routes.
APTCON lamented that the biggest challenges facing its members were the price of fuelling, cost of spare parts for vehicle maintenance, unit cost of buses, diesel costs for powering terminals, Value Added Taxes (VAT) as well as increase in bank interest rates.
“These identified increments, to name but a few, have taken a significant toll on the revenue of private transport company owners across Nigeria,” the statement noted.
In fact, many of its members have expressed their inability to pay salaries, while some others had to shut down operations completely, the statement said.