The current state of the economy is not friendly to many. Many Nigerians are wallowing in hardship since recession hit the country. Taxi drivers and kabu kabu operators are not left behind as most of them complain their business is no longer profitable.
ENCOMIUM Weekly had a chat with some taxi drivers and kabu kabu operators where they revealed to us their pain and how the recession has caused a lot of setbacks to their business…
‘The recession is affecting us’ – SEBURI OLUFOWBI
We’re not enjoying the job anymore. In fact, it’s even worse than our expectation, but in everything one must be thankful to God. I have been in the business for about six years, things have never been this bad. The recession is affecting us even too much because patronage has dropped and fuel price doesn’t really help us
Most times, you will be forced to accept the price the clients can offer instead of the usual charges when things were okay. Now, we queue here every day, you may not even be lucky to go on a trip before the day closes. Everybody is complaining here and there. Even if you decide not to queue, you will later realize you waste the whole fuel without anything to show for it. The highest amount I go home with now is N4,000 and may be a little extra during the weekend. It’s not funny at all.
‘The patronage has reduced’ – MUDASHIR ADISA
There’s no business this economic situation has not affected. Those of us in taxi and kabu kabu business are not finding it funny anymore. At the beginning of this year, the garage was filled with different types of cars but now, a lot of our members have stopped coming, especially those coming from far places. The patronage has reduced. Not very many people can afford taxi or cab now. That’s why you see most of us sleeping now, no passengers. People prefer to charter keke maruwa now because of the cost. In most cases, you close without making N2,000 in a day as against what it used to be early this year. We hoped it’s going to be better when we started experiencing the hardship early the year, not knowing we’ve just starting. Most of us no longer eat in the afternoon again. Things are really terrible now, my brother. It’s only God that can save us.
‘We’re even fed up of the job’ – STEVEN OGUNDELE
We give glory to God for the gift of life because the Bible says in every situation we still have to thank Him. But the truth of the matter is that things are not working as expected in the country generally. We all hoped by now, the country’s economy would have stabilized, instead, it dragged into recession. Many businesses have collapsed. Even, most of us in kabu kabu have withdrawn. Some even sold their vehicles and went back to their villages. What’s the essence of coming out in the morning and closing in the evening and nothing to show for? I hardly realize up to N5,000 daily and you still have to pay for this and that. It’s an understatement asking whether the situation in the country is affecting us or not unless we’re from another planet. We’re even fed up of the job. The funniest thing at times is that some customers might have agreed to pay the negotiated amount, but after getting to their destinations, the story will change.
You just have to take it easy if you don’t want to cause crisis. I had up to about 10 regular customers before who can no longer pay as they used to. Even, some of them have stopped calling for my service due to the situation in the country. Let’s just continue to hope that things will be alright.
‘I hope things will get better soon’ – MUSTAPHA BALOGUN
This business has really experienced a lot of setbacks since the beginning of this year. It used to be a profitable means of earning a living but the situation is now the other way round. Most times I will drive around the city of Lagos for hours without seeing someone to stop me. Even those that do stop my taxi will end up walking away because most people can no longer afford to pay for taxi.
For instance, I charge up to N5,000 from Mainland to Island but most people will price it for N2,000 or less. The situation is mind boggling. I hope things will get better soon.
‘People don’t hire taxis anymore’ – OYEWALE AFEEZ
Being a taxi driver in Nigeria today is now the survival of the fittest, because the situation of the country is not friendly. People don’t hire taxis anymore. What I do to survive nowadays is just to be friendly with customers and convince them to add more to the little amount they want to pay. If I am to stand my grounds with our normal charges, I won’t make a dime in a day. So, the business has suffered some setback and I hope that things will be fine soon.
‘We just have to keep praying’ – EZEKIEL IDOWU
It is clear to everyone now that there’s recession in Nigeria because all of my colleagues and friends are complaining in one way or the other. I have been a taxi driver for years, but this 2016 is the worst in my experience as a taxi driver. Majority of Nigerians are broke. No more lavish spending and it is really affecting our business. I can’t remember the last time I went home with N5,000 profit. But I still give thanks to God that I am surviving. About five of my colleagues that we started together in January had to quit because of the situation of things. We just have to keep praying.
‘I want to quit this business’ – ISAAC OLOKO
I am tired of the whole situation. I want to quit this business and start something else because it is no longer profitable. Sometimes I won’t even make up to N1,000 profit, after paying for ticket and other charges in the park.
I am living in frustration. I have never experienced this kind of a change before and I think it is the right of every Nigerian to know that our government have no plans for its citizens.
- TADE ASIFAT and OLUWAFEMI SOEWU