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Motorists at risk over scarcity of tyres, spare-parts, others 


 PHOTO: Google

PHOTO: Google

• Naira-dollar disparity spikes prices by 200%
• Govt urged to intervene to avert increase in road crashes 

The high exchange rate and the plummeting economy are taking toll on motorists across Nigeria, as prices of vehicle spare parts, particularly tyres are soaring beyond control.

Indeed, indications have emerged that vehicle owners can no longer find replacement for necessary parts, while importers decry their inability to stock products.

This development is attributed to the prevailing exchange rate of $1 to N485 in the open market as of Tuesday this week, thereby weakening consumers’ purchasing power as more Naira is needed to buy goods and services.   Within a week when The Guardian had requested for the prices of some specific new tyres from dealers, prices rose by about 25 per cent, while some of the dealers already ran out of stock for some of the sizes.

Even at the used tyres stand, size 245/65/17, which sold for about N15,000 three months ago now sells for about N25,000 at the Ladipo spare parts market in the Isolo area of Lagos.

Chief Executive Officer of Automedics Limited, Kunle Shonaike, confirmed that there is already about 200 per cent increase in prices of used and brand new tyre as well as other vehicle spare-parts.

“The increase is still going to be extreme because of the high increase in forex. Not just because of the exchange rate, a lot of people don’t have access to dollar and they are going to jack up the price of the little they have because it is intolerable to import at black market rate,” Shonaike told The Giuardian.

This is coming at a time the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), which is statutorily responsible for road safety administration in Nigeria, and Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) responsible for standardising and regulating the quality of all products in Nigeria, are strategising against patronage of used or fake vehicle spare-parts.

Of particular interest for the agencies are used and substandard tyres, as statistics show that the high rate of accidents and death tolls result from such products.

Should the situation continue, the economic recession may bite harder since most Nigerians rely on private transportation for mobility given the lack of adequate public transportation system to fuel economic activities.

The situation is particularly delicate at this Yuletide, when activities for the year are wound down, and many Nigerians travel to their villages to celebrate the season with their friends and loved ones, and as such require road worthy vehicles to undertake such journeys.

Increased patronage of substandard and used spare parts may also surge; this, coupled with the bad roads situation in the country may further expose motorists to the dangers of more road accidents. This may also halt efforts to reduce Nigeria’s horrible figure of road crashes.

No fewer than 5,707 road crashes were recorded in Nigeria between January and August this year, which left 3,048 people dead.

Spokesperson for Infinity Tyres Limited, Vineet Mathur, who urged motorists to watch out for cheap but inferior products from deceitful dealers, especially given the current economic downturn described the situation as unacceptable.

He blamed the situation on importers` inability to access forex and the meltdown in the economy, which drastically affected the purchasing power of vehicle owners.

A tyre specialist, who had worked with SON, Adebiyi Nelson, urged government to urgently consider an option that would address the situation to avoid many effects.

In addition to the recent death of the late Honourable Minister of State for Labour and Employment, James Ocholi, his wife and son, FRSC said 772 Road Traffic Accidents (RTCs) recorded in 2015 across the country were caused by tyres.

Related problems make Nigeria loose about N80 billion yearly to road crashes, with about 29.1 per cent of the victims suffering disability and 13.5 per cent unable to return to work, FRSC statistics revealed.

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