Tricycle operators in parts of Lagos have lamented low patronage as result of the lingering scarcity of naira notes.
Large number of tricycles, popularly known as keke, were seen empty in Oshodi, Isolo and Ikeja areas of Lagos as their drivers sat idly under the hot sun, waiting for passengers to board their tricycles on Monday morning.
Speaking to Prime Business Africa correspondent, they blamed the low patronage on the the Naira note scarcity that has trailed the currency redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The keke drivers, who angrily talked about the height of hardship people are facing in the country due to the scarcity of naira notes, lamented that transport business, especially for keke drivers, has been greatly affected as witnessed in low returns they have recorded so far.
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Speaking in a blend of English and Pidgin, one of the keke drivers, who gave his name as Mark, said since he started the keke business, there hadn’t been this level of hardship. He noted that feeding has become difficult for many low and middle income families in Nigeria as a result of the scarcity of new Naira note.
“ Since I took the keke on hire purpose, I do pay the owner an agreed amount every week, and the owner is not ready to listen to any form of excuse regarding his money,” Mark said,
“Now, we wake up around 5 a.m., shouting away our voices and yet nobody comes to enter our keke. People prefer to trek to work rather than enter keke today because of no cash.”
Another keke driver, who preferred to remain anonymous, said he had since stopped accepting bank transfers because he is not comfortable with bank service charges per transaction which would make him lose more at the end of the day’s work, coupled with the issue of fake transfers by fraudsters which he said he once witnessed.
“I have also refused to collect transfer due to bank charge rates for transactions. I have also witnessed a fraudulent transaction last week, which led to a loss of N5,000.
“If I decide to collect transfer, I will go home with loss, after bank has removed their charges and I have bought fuel with the remaining money. This country hard!” he lamented.
Another keke driver close to him also waiting for passengers said his daily and weekl income had dropped drastically since the naira crisis started some weeks back.
“I never go home with a reasonable amount of money since this new note scarcity started, we go dey beg people make them enter our keke, and people dey fight with us, because we no gree collect old naira notes. I follow passenger fight yesterday because of this naira matter, Which kind country be this? Make them pity people like us wey no get money, make we for see food chop,” he lamented.