The Association of Private Transport Companies of Nigeria (APTCON) has appealed to the Buhari administration to ensure that all stakeholders in the transport sector get equal treatment in COVID-19 stimulus packages.
A statement Sunday night by the spokesperson, Audu Gaddo, explained that they have been hit by the effect of the coronavirus pandemic with looming massive job loss if the government does not act timely.
They made the call in reaction to airline operators’ demand for financial intervention amid the coronavirus crisis, insisting that road transport companies convey more Nigerians daily.
“APTCON employs more Nigerians than airline operators. Millions of citizens are making a living directly and indirectly. It is also the main mode of movement since the average Nigerian cannot afford to fly. If the sector suffers, it will affect every citizen.
“Our requests only cover organised companies that operate legitimate services, have a proper business structure and pay taxes. So, the government has no challenge identifying beneficiaries and channelling support to those who add to national revenue.
“We are not opposed to government supporting airline operators. However, we strongly believe that given the unique place of road transport operations in the Nigerian economy, they should be first in line for government’s financial support,” he stressed.
Gaddo said everyone knew that transport operators provide services to Nigerians under harsh conditions like bad roads, multiple taxations and other factors that cause high overhead expenses.
On the claim that transportation players no longer pay Value Added Tax (VAT), Gaddo declared it as false.
“Transportation is one of the non-oil drivers of the Nigerian economy and road transport provides the largest share. Beyond contributing to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), we provide a nationwide network that ensures business and tourism flourish,” he said.
Noting that APTCON also supports growth in remote areas, the body urged policymakers to assist employers of labour, especially when coronavirus had affected countless businesses.
President Muhammadu Buhari will, Monday night, address the nation on the pandemic, palliatives, lockdown and other issues.