The most recent statistics from the Nigerian aviation sector paint a lukewarm picture of a multibillion-Naira industry that is on the verge of collapse as loopholes in maintenance, high jet oil costs and a consortium of more factors all conspire to rob it of a glory, recently tarnished by a fatal air accident.
Accenture, a worldwide consultant traces the bleak performance of a country that is the cradle of oil in West Africa to, among others, airport bureaucracy, high operational expenditure and meager maintenance hangars.
This has led to dissatisfaction by passengers, a caustic result of fleet managements that are in recurring debt.
Maybe the aviation sector in Nigeria needs to borrow a palm relief of success from the yellow cab.
The Taxi Blooms
From a Toyota RAV 4 four-wheel drive, to a flashy limousine, it is not a surprise to loll back inside the darkened auto glass of a cab from the Lagos Airport and think that one is in the West.
The taxi business has blossomed as a result of micro-and macro-finance schemes that have laid bare similar stories as those of Poor Richard Almanac’s way to success in 18th century American lore of Benjamin Franklin. Now, with a deposit of N250, 000 at a local bank, it is easy to wish for any vehicle out there by which to one day ferry passengers on business. This amount guarantees the user a good credit score to obtain a car of choice on loan.
Of course there is also the Taxi Driver & Cab Operators’ Association in Lagos State which acts as the referee in the credit transaction.
With a little push of guaranteeing power from the association, operating a taxi that is more than a cab bearing a yellow line is not a Herculean affair.
Unlike their peers in the aviation industry who cannot dream of obtaining a Boeing on a feasible loan scheme, the taxi operators can even pinpoint the how and where of a particular model they have set eyes on.
A Toyota Corolla, for example, may need just 30, 000 Naira per week and in 36 months the car will be in full ownership of the operator.
Thus, as the aviation industry tries to bludgeon budget obstacles in the skies, the taxi people are bringing Lagos closer by day into a place of luxury travel and operational success with even meager resources.