Transportation companies write Buhari as mass sack looms
The Association of Private Transport Companies of Nigeria (APTCON) has called the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari to the challenge of maintaining their firms amid the coronavirus crisis.
The body reiterated its warning that members may embark on massive job cuts if the federal government does not urgently unveil its plans to help businesses survive the economic shock of the pandemic.
A statement on Sunday by its spokesman, Audu Gaddo, also directed their plight to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, Ministers of Transport, Youth, Rotimi Amaechi and Sunday Dare, respectively.
Titled ‘Save Nigeria’s Road Transport Sector’, APTCON said that government intervention had become necessary because road transport companies will be forced to carry less passengers without significant increases in fares, in addition to other unavoidable operating costs.
Gaddo appealed to the Buhari administration to, among others, urgently consider a regime of tax waivers, access to cheap funds, and special grants to assist the sector return to meaningful operations and overcome the fear of massive layoffs.
He noted that as one of the nation’s highest employers of labour, the challenges confronting APTCON were compounded by the fact that members were still paying taxes and levies, even in the face of enormous sacrifices already being made.
Gaddo also urged the government to be deliberate and strategic in forging a united response to the COVID-19 pandemic with the organised road transport companies made an integral part of the stakeholder team, and regularly consulted on the way forward.
“Our industry has come off worse as Nigeria battles to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are forced to do less than our regular capacity as part of COVID-19 protocols, making it difficult to generate enough revenue. Hundreds of thousands of Nigerians in our employ risk job losses.
“We call on the Nigerian government and its agencies to urgently consider implementing tax waivers, access to cheap funds and special grants for APTCON members to assist us overcome the economic meltdown triggered by COVID-19 pandemic.
“To do otherwise will amount to throwing the sector into an unfathomable crisis, the result of which may radically alter the sector’s growing contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP)”, the statement added.