Addressing Journalists in Enugu to showcase the ‘2016 best customer in Nigeria’ awarded to the company by the Japanese automaker, Toyota, Onyishi said road transporters should be exempted from the policy since they serve the down trodden, who normally deal with cash.
The Toyota 2016 best customer in Nigeria, which was conferred on Peace Mass Transit last week in Lagos, came with a commemorative plaque and a cash prize of N2 million.
Speaking while displaying the award which he dedicated to God, the transporter said the policy which attracts three per cent of the sum has added to the burden of operators, since over 95 per cent of Nigerians who travel by road pay cash at the point of departure.
He noted, “Most of the people that patronize us are rural men and women who may not have any business with banks, or doing transactions online. They are not like those in the aviation or shipping sectors that believe it is easier to transact online. So when they pay us cash and we go to deposit the money and pay percentage on the money, it means extra charges on us, and we think the federal government should look into it. ”Onyishi also called for more support from government to the road transporters, stressing that it was unfair to continue to bail out the aviation and shipping sectors without offering any assistance to road transporters when millions of Nigerians travel by road.
“When government gives funds to the aviation and shipping sectors, such gestures should be extended to the road transporters. You cannot continue to give funds to airlines when they are in need, and not asking the road transporters how they are coping, knowing that we are also contributing to the development of the economy and that our spare parts are sourced from abroad using foreign exchange.
“Now we collect money in naira and when we want to buy spare parts we buy in dollar. For some time now, there has been scarcity of dollar, and dollar increases and this is telling on transporters. Most of us can no longer buy new vehicles because the price is high. There are many who have to lay off their workers because of the recession, as they can no longer meet with increasing demands. But what I am saying is that we should also be part of government’s plan to boost the economy,” he said.
He said that since inception, Peace Mass Transit has strived to enhance the safety of Nigerians who travel by road by introducing the speed limiting device, compulsory seat belt for all passengers, three persons per seat, retraining of drivers as well as compensation to passengers where necessary.
The company according to him moves over 30,000 passengers daily with about 2000 mini-buses that are in active operation in 60 bus terminals across the country.
He said the award would enable him continue to strive for the best for the industry, adding that since it started operation in 1996, it has not borrowed from any bank to finance its business.