September 26, 2021

Covid-19: Transport business ‘worse hit’ during lockdown – Practitioner

Every business directly or indirectly survives on transportation.

Where people gather, buying and selling is inevitable. From movement of raw material to staff and equipment, down to the distribution of the finished product, transportation plays a vital role.

The value of properties in places with high human traffic, which is only made possible through transportation is usually high. Businesses often spring in such places, increasing employment and revenue for the people and government.

Transportation on its own provides employment and revenue. People in transport business earn income from transport fares.

However, since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, there have been high restrictions on transportation to prevent movement and distribution of the virus. This has invariably affected revenues for many businesses, households and even governments.

“The challenges are huge,” says a road transport businessman in Central Nigeria, Mr. Simon Iliya.

Unfortunately, according to Iliya, public discussions often omit such businesses, leading to reduced attention and support.

Government in particular, in Iliya’s words, pays less attention to the transport sector because it is largely private sector driven.

“The government often provides relief for businesses and individuals in other sectors during economic stress but not transport because the brunt is borne largely by private individuals,” said Iliya, the Chairman, Bluewhales Group.

Of greater concern, Iliya told LB, is the likelihood of government still demanding tax from such businesses, despite being shut.

“Government is government and you can’t fight it. It could wake up one day to stampede you out of business if you fail on your tax obligations,” he said.

Transporters, Iliya said must be creative to survive and meet their obligations to family and government despite the economic stress caused by Coronavirus.