Commuters will face harder times in the coming weeks as the Association of Private Transport Company Owners of Nigeria (APTCON) has resolved to increase transport fare by as high as 500 per cent.
The association, which gave the hint after a recent meeting in Jos, Plateau State, said the government at all levels have not helped the situations of the transporters with their policies of unlawful multiple taxations and other levies which, he said, are worsening their situation in the sub-sector.
APTCON spokesperson, Audu Gaddo, accused the government at all levels of stifling the sub-sector with their policies and taxes, which he said make it impossible for transporters to operate profitably, thus the resolution to increase transport fares.
The increase in transport fares is coming on the heels of the almost 100 per cent increase following the increase in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, from N148 to N151 by the Pipeline and Product Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC).
He said: “While numerous issues plague the sector such as high exchange rates, high interests on bank loans among others, one of its toughest challenges remains the issue of multiple taxation. These colossally high, unsubstantiated and unlawful charges, which are predominant across the country particularly in places like Lagos, Abia, Rivers, Imo, Enugu, Kaduna, Delta and the Abuja Municipal Area Council, affect transporters’ ability to remain in business, leaving them with no option than to consider fare price increase.”
Gaddo called on the government at all levels to put the interest of its citizens first by addressing some of the other issues plaguing the Nigerian transport industry such as bad roads, unwarranted harassment of passengers by law enforcement officers and insecurity instead of focusing purely on financial gains.
He urged the government to take strategic steps in ending the shameful exploitation of transporters to avoid making innocent commuters suffer needlessly.
A member of the association, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the government did not care about the masses, and he alleged that a particular local government recently issued a demand notice of almost N7 million to one of their member organisations.
His words: “Passenger transport companies are always being exploited by the government especially at the state and local government levels. In just two months, I have paid close to N10 million in taxes for just three of the eight locations I operate from. How much are we making from this business, especially with this new law about social distancing in buses, which requires us to carry maximum of seven passengers in a 14-seater bus and 28 passengers in a 50-seater bus. Government is quick to charge and enforce unlawful taxes and but do not give us any support whatsoever. How do we survive?