•Abuja drivers, business owners bemoan huge revenue losses to energy crisis

 

From Adanna Nnamani and Charity Nwakaudu, Abuja

 

The recent fuel crisis has resulted in dire consequences for drivers and business owners as they all bemoan significant losses. The over three-week fuel scarcity, led to long queues at filling stations, prices hike, and serious economic repercussions.

Drivers struggled to fill their tanks due to limited fuel availability. Many were forced to wait in line for hours, disrupting daily routines and causing frustration.

For businesses reliant on transportation, such as delivery services and logistics companies, the fuel shortages resulted in delayed shipments, increased operational costs and revenue losses.

Small businesses, already facing the impact of inflation and rising costs, were particularly vulnerable to the fuel crises. The inability to access affordable fuel not only affected their day-to-day operations but also hampered their ability to compete in the market and meet customer demands.

David Eke, a taxi driver, plies Wuse-Kubwa route: “I stayed on the queue for more than five hours. I got tired of waiting and resorted to ‘black market’, which I got at N1 Eke 2,000 for 10 litres right in front of the filling station. Despite increasing the fare to recoup my money, I ended up making no tangible profit on that day.

“The lingering scarcity has affected everything around me. I struggle to provide for my family these days.  I have also been defaulting in making my payments with the car owner who is on my neck. The issue is really frustrating to us, as drivers. We can no longer save because whatever we earn goes back into fuelling our vehicles.

“If you watch, you will notice that the roads are scantier than usual.  This is because many people have parked their cars, while others are sleeping at filling stations waiting for fuel.”

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Mustaphal Abdullahi, another motorist, said: “Getting petrol has become quite challenging lately. I refuse to spend my time waiting in long lines at fuel stations. Instead of queuing up for fuel since last week, I have resorted to purchasing from the black market and adjusting my transportation fares accordingly.

“Before anyone gets into my vehicle, I would state the fare, if it is not okay with you, you can exit. Unfortunately, the recent fare hike is not beneficial to us. Many passengers have opted to walk, especially when it is not a very long distance. I must specify because prices now differ among drivers.”

Chika Emmanuel: “This period is typically a time of business boom in my line of business. I know how much I made around this time last year.  But, these days, all my earnings are spent on purchasing fuel. It is a challenge to provide for my family.”

He expressed fears of losing the bus he operates with due to his inability to meet the daily targets of remittances set by the owner.

Johnson Almeh is another commercial bus driver. He operate within Nyanya: “Unfortunately, we cannot make any profit by buying twice the price at filling stations. This is because there are no passengers to pay for fare increases. They would rather trek several kilometres to their destinations than pay the higher fares.”

Tricycle riders are not left out. Clement Opia. He operates between NNPC Junction, Kubwa and Face 4: “Passengers now have to pay twice the amount they were paying before due to the fuel problem.

“It is not our fault. Many of us, unable to queue at filling stations end up buying fuel for over N1000 per litre. The government needs to intervene swiftly to prevent the situation from escalating.”

Chioma, an undergraduate, sells female wears: “A dress that used to cost N4,000 now costs N6,000 to purchase. To make profit, you have to increase the selling price, making the items more expensive for your customers.

“Fuel scarcity also affected the fee for delivering customers. Due to the increased costs of way billings and using dispatch riders, some customers end up cancelling their orders. This has resulted in huge losses for my business, as it reduced the amount of orders I receive and my profits”

Omeke Soromto, a baker, said: “The scarcity has affected my business, particularly in delivering customers’ orders. The hike in fuel price made me to also increase the delivery fee. Some customers cancel their orders when they find out the delivery fee has increased. This has significantly reduced the number of orders I get.”

She resorted to delivering some of the orders herself to reduce cost and satisfy her customers. She confessed it is stressful and time consuming: “I have to do what I can to keep my customers happy while at the same time, saving my business.”


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