Legit.ng weekly price check: Traders cry out over fare hike following lockdown extension

Legit.ng weekly price check: Traders cry out over fare hike following lockdown extension

- Traders at a popular market in Lagos state, have lamented bitterly over fare hike few days after lockdown extension

- According to the marketers, the cost of carriage by transporters to the different market locations in the state have risen unimaginably

- They added that the development has affected their businesses to an extent, describing the situation as unfortunate

A side view of a popular market in Lagos. Photo credit: Esther Odili
A side view of a popular market in Lagos. Photo credit: Esther Odili
Source: Original

With the emergence of new cases, the coronavirus pandemic has affected businesses in Nigeria and beyond.

The recent lockdown extension was a step taken by the government to contain the spread of the virus and also protect the lives of its citizens due to the increasing number of the novel coronavirus cases in the country.

Following this development, the few transporters especially the commercial bus drivers available to carry foodstuff items and traders who sell these items have arbitrarily increase fares against the plans and budgets of traders and buyers in the market.

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Whilst traders in the market decry hike in cost of transportation fares, buyers attribute this act by transporters to the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the economy in Nigeria and beyond.

In some parts of the state, it is still business as usual and in other parts the lockdown has brought about sanity to the busy roads.

Checks by Legit.ng at Mile 12 international market and Ketu market, revealed the difficulties in carriage experienced by the traders from the point of purchase to the market location.

Reacting to this, a trader who sells goods like garri, rice, beans, millet and groundnut lament over the increment in the cost of carriage by transporters.

Garri, at major markets in the state is sold at reasonable prices. Photo credit: Esther Odili
Garri, at major markets in the state is sold at reasonable prices. Photo credit: Esther Odili
Source: Original

The trader in a chat with Legit.ng complains bitterly over the price differences. According to him, only few transporters are available to offer services in the early hours of the day as most of them are scared of being harassed by security personnel, hence they do not come out in large numbers.

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He said: “Following the series of event in the country with the lockdown extension, only few commercial bus drivers are on the road now to carry traders who sell foodstuff items and other drivers are scared of coming out so they won’t be arrested by security operatives. And the ones that are available increase the transportation fares. A route that goes for N50 before now goes for N150 upwards and sometimes N200. The price difference now is alarming when carrying goods from the point of purchase to the market where we offer services.

“For some of us who sell food items, it has been very difficult because we purchase from far distances; from places like Oyingbo market and Iddo market and sometimes we call our fellow traders who give us goods if they have excess supply. Bringing the goods from the market where it was purchased to here where we sell, is very hard because we spend hours waiting to board a bus and when they arrive, we end up paying more than we bargained for; they call fares from N1,500 upwards according to the number of bags containing the goods.”

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Traders worry over slow pace of business at the market. Photo credit: Esther Odili
Traders worry over slow pace of business at the market. Photo credit: Esther Odili
Source: Original

A retailer, who sell goods cleaning tools like scrub brush, broom, dustpan, spray bottle, mopping stick and bucket, lament over hike in transportation from her home to the market place. According to her, the fare hike is three times more now.

She said: “I come all the way from Ikorodu area to sell here in the market. We spend hours at the bus stops before we would be lucky to board a bus that will bring us to the marketplace. If we leave in the early hours of the day, we might end up being robbed, and if we leave home in broad day light, we have challenge of getting buses that would convey us to our destinations even after buying the goods.

“It has not been a smooth ride for us as traders who have cars cannot come out with their cars; this makes the situation more worrisome. This is a an issue we have been facing in previous weeks and it is affecting our source of livelihood. It is not really easy now as business is very slow and the little we have, we manage it to take care of bills at home and the marketplace. If we are unable to get to the market to carry out our daily activities, how then are we going to be able to survive in this hard time? The government should please assist us.”

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At the market, palm-oil still maintained its old price while groundnut-oil is a bit expensive. Photo credit: Esther Odili
At the market, palm-oil still maintained its old price while groundnut-oil is a bit expensive. Photo credit: Esther Odili
Source: Original

Another trader at the market who sells palm-oil and groundnut-oil told our correspondent that it was an act of greed on the part of commercial bus drivers who want to use the present market condition and situation in the country to exploit traders of their hard earned resources.

The mother of three stated that: “Our government is trying its best to curb spread of the virus and we appreciate them. This is not really new; it is like a norm for them. Whenever there is a problem in the country, transporters see it as an opportunity to make quick money. They exploit the traders and buyers quickly not considering the state or condition they are in as well.

“For groundnut-oil, the ones that are of high quality are a bit expensive while the ones that are of low quality are affordable. Also, the ones that are sealed are very expensive but the refill is not while palm-oil still maintained its old price.

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“The surprising thing is that, most goods in the market are quite affordable only few are expensive and yet we are not making sales as expected and the next step by transporters is to hike the transportation fares. This is not helping our business in any way now as some of us when we run out of the goods we have, it will be difficult to get to the market where we will purchase new goods to stock up our shop.

“As it is now, we are struggling to make sales, how then are we going to get enough money to spend on transportation fares again? It is an issue and a concern of most traders because marketers are not exempted from the hardship and if we use all our profit on transport fare, how then are we going to support our spouses and take care of our families? The government should please intervene; it is becoming unbearable for us.”

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Few buses are seen at bus stops in Lagos following the directives by the government. Photo credit: Esther Odili
Few buses are seen at bus stops in Lagos following the directives by the government. Photo credit: Esther Odili
Source: Original

Meanwhile, a buyer who pleaded anonymity described the situation as unfortunate. According to him, the transporters are only interested in enriching their pockets in a short while.

“The situation we are in, in the country now is very unfortunate; nobody planned for this and nobody saw it coming fast but it is more worrisome that while we think daily of how to survive, the commercial bus drivers are only thinking of making things harder for us. With the way things are going, they would continue to increase the cost of transportation fares if they are not cautioned by the relevant authorities.

“Most people are not making money sitting at home now and they spend from the little they have saved. The little cash they have is what they bring to the market to get foodstuff items for the family; but the drivers believe this is an opportunity to make quick cash following the stay at home order as traders have no option than to patronize them if they want to keep their business up and running. It is important for the drivers to know that they have no reason to increase transport fares because there is no scarcity of fuel,” A buyer who pleaded anonymity told Legit.ng.

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Further findings by our correspondent showed that some sellers who cannot afford the proposed transportation fares, walk halfway so as to have a reduced transportation fare and others who cannot walk, spend hours waiting for transporters going to their route with low transport fares.

An aged woman, who sells fruit at the market, opined that it has become a standard practice for transporters to hike transportation fares in difficult times.

It is no longer business as usual in markets across the state. Photo credit: Esther Odili
It is no longer business as usual in markets across the state. Photo credit: Esther Odili
Source: Original

The fruit seller said now she walk halfway to her stall daily because she cannot afford to pay huge amount on transport fare and when she has spare cash, then she does not get to see transporters that would convey her goods from the market place of purchase to her stall.

“For some days now, we have been having difficulty with transportation fare; at first, it was not really aching but later we started feeling the heat due to the poor market condition. I purchase fruit at Jakande market, Ketu and bring it to my stall here at Mile 12 international market. Fruits that are in season are affordable while the ones that are out of season are expensive but we beckon on traders to patronize us as some just roam around the market without buying a single item.

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“This period, I walk down to my stall sometimes after purchasing goods at wholesale prices from the market; because you either get a public transport that is expensive or not see anyone available on the road. As if that is not enough, when we close for the day, going home is another problem as we struggle to get bus, and anyone that comes around, when he sees us in large numbers, they call transport fares that would leave you speechless and we have no option than to board the bus. It is sad that we are not making good profit yet we are spending more on so many things like transport fare,” The fruit seller lamented.

Fruits on display at affordable prices in Lagos market. Photo credit: Esther Odili
Fruits on display at affordable prices in Lagos market. Photo credit: Esther Odili
Source: Original

Speaking about the effect of the lockdown on business activities in the market; traders informed that the effect on the cost price of goods and businesses in general terms has been a negative one and some traders are wallowing in debt rather than profit because they have to survive notwithstanding the circumstances surrounding their business.

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Perishable goods seller waiting patiently for a reasonable transporter with their goods at the market. Photo credit: Esther Odili
Perishable goods seller waiting patiently for a reasonable transporter with their goods at the market. Photo credit: Esther Odili
Source: Original

A perishable goods seller who sells her goods at Onigbongbo market shared her experience with our correspondent following the lockdown extension.

The seller opined that: “This is a challenging period for us all in the country and despite the hardship, we still need to survive. I come here often to get perishable goods because it is sold at affordable prices and after purchase I pay for carriage to the bus stop here and then I have to wait for buses going to my route and due to the lockdown extension, it is not easy to get them as they charge from N1,000 upwards.

“Due to the lockdown extension, after walking around the market to purchase goods and other items I needed in the early hours of the day, I wait patiently for the bus that will carry my goods to the market where I sell. I am never in a hurry because this is a tough time and one needs to be careful of everything and anything so as not to be a victim. I don’t rush in anyway. But, the fares are very high and when I do not have the money, I sit for long till I get the transporter that would reason with me.

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“Some of them have listening ears and others don’t but depending on how one approaches them. The lockdown has affected our business negatively and we are just making sales with no record of good profit at the end of the day. In markets where food items are sold, you would find some shops under lock because some marketers have spent all they had as some were depending on loans they got from the banks to push their business forward before the lockdown and after every effort now, nothing seems forthcoming, they decide to stay at home. Business is not moving and we are doing our best to make a living and in doing so, any money that comes into my purse now has to be spent wisely.”

A trader trying to get the attention of a transporter at the bus stop with his goods by the side. Photo credit: Esther Odili
A trader trying to get the attention of a transporter at the bus stop with his goods by the side. Photo credit: Esther Odili
Source: Original

Following the increasing number of cases of the coronavirus, government and health experts have urged citizens to take full responsibility of their health by obeying the directives, practice social distancing, wash your hands regularly with soap and water, make use of hand sanitizer and face/nose mask when necessary and stay at home so as to avoid further spread of the virus in the country.

All the same, while some traders who sell food items have resolved to stay back at home, others are determined to come out to the market no matter the cost and means of transportation and some have however delayed their business till after the lockdown.

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Source: Legit.ng

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