Association of Private Transport Company Owners of Nigeria (APTCON) has said it may be forced to hike fares by as much as 500% in the coming weeks over multiple taxes.
Members of the association unanimously agreed to the plan at a recent meeting of the association.
APTCON’s spokesperson, Audu Gaddo, said that the government is making it impossible for transporters to operate profitably.
While numerous issues plague the sector such as high exchange rates, high interest on bank loans, etc., one of its toughest challenges remains the issue of multiple taxations, he said.
Audu mentioned that one of their member organisations just received a demand notice of close to 7 million from one local government.
According to him, the 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 fares increase.
“Transport companies are always being exploited by the government especially at the state and local government levels,” a member of the association told journalists after the meeting.
“In just 2 months, I have paid close to N10 million in taxes for just 3 of the 8 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 a maximum of 7 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?”
Audu advised the government to put the interest of its citizens first by addressing some of the other issues plaguing the Nigerian transport industry which include bad roads, unwarranted harassment of passengers by law enforcement officers, and insecurity instead of focusing purely on financial gains.
He ended his interview by imploring the government to take strategic steps in ending the shameful exploitation of transporters to avoid making innocent commuters suffer needlessly.