As long distance road transporters gradually return to their various routes following the recent reversal of the ban on inter-state travels, the Chairman, Chisco Group of Companies, Dr. Chidi Anyaegbu, has made a case for far-reaching concessions to luxury bus owners.
The popular transporter appealed to the government to grant the luxury bus owners waivers on taxes, duties and other levies as special incentive to assist in cushioning the losses incurred during the three months their thousands of buses were parked while the travel ban lasted.
Dr. Anyaegbu who made the appeal during an exclusive interview in Lagos, stressed that commercial transport owners need to be given as much concessions as possible, pointing out that some of them would find it difficult to survive without bailout.
He said, “In order to manage the economic effects of COVID-19, it is important for the government to consider helping private commercial transport operators to recover from the impact of the three-month travel ban which was only recently lifted.
“We perfectly understand that it was necessary to shut down inter-state travelling to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The measure was for the wellbeing of everyone. But, at the same time, the government needs to consider that passenger transport businesses suffered huge losses due to the lockdown. “
Dr. Anyaegbu stated that aside billions of naira lost during the travel ban, there are still post-lockdown challenges confronting the industry, as transport owners now reduce the number of passengers they have on board during their trips.
They also spend lots of money on safety facilities and disinfecting equipments in the interest of both staff and customers, he stated.
The Chisco Chairman further disclosed that the resultant increase in boarding fares is due to the new rule of carrying only 50 percent passenger capacity of their vehicles in order to achieve physical distancing according to COVID-19 protocols. He called on passengers and staff to strictly adhere to all safety guidelines to help in the fight against the prevailing pandemic.
Chisco, he affirmed, is adhering strictly to the procedures and protocols, “Transport companies might go bankrupt even with the resumption of business operations because they can’t take the usual full load capacity. They have reduced to 50 percent boarding capacity as a measure to maintain physical distance. We have purchased safety equipments used for disinfecting our terminals and buses.
“We have hired safety experts to train our staff on the practical steps to fight against the spread of COVID-19. All these are unprecedented financial expenses. But, we had to do them to ensure that the safety of our passengers and staff is guaranteed. So I beckon on the government to reduce the levies to enable us recover from the economic losses.”