As transportation costs tripled in Africa’s biggest economy, employees’ requests for remote work in the last two weeks are surging, BusinessDay’s checks show.
The cost of moving within the cities on commercial transportation across the country has doubled following last week’s adjustment of the pump price of a litre of fuel from an average of N191 per litre to N526.7 per litre owing to subsidy removal.
In Lagos, the country’s commercial centre, a journey of N100 has doubled to N200; that of N200 or N300 has been raised to N500 while that of N500 has been pegged at N800 or N1,000 in some cases.
The sharp rise in prices is driving a surge in remote work requests from employers as employees find it difficult to easily adjust.
“I am appealing to @officialABAT to direct the head of the civil service to revert to Covid -19 era when levels 1-8 worked from home,” @koye1 tweeted.
“Then, provision of locally assembled mass transit for staff and other Nigerians is made available. We have to focus on gas-powered vehicles,” he added.
Chioma Ayika, an SEO analyst, told BusinessDay that she plans to appeal to her company to come twice a week.
“I live in Agbara and work in Ikoyi, I spend between N5,000-7,000 on transportation daily, summing up to N21,000 per week, that is a huge chunk of my salary leaving almost nothing for necessities,” she said.
Magatet Aligbe, a digital creator said “With the rising cost of fuel, I hope more employers in Nigeria will embrace remote work for some roles, especially if there are no plans to increase salary.”
“Let the expense be more on data, such that work and meetings be focused on achieving targeted, productive tasks.”
Workers have been badly impacted by the country’s accelerating inflation and Nigeria’s inflation at 22.22 percent in April is far outpacing wage growth, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.
With the current pump price, it will cost a minimum wage earner of N30,000 two-thirds of his income to purchase 40 liters of fuel.
Collins Osho, a civil servant and photographer expressed his grief at the new prices. “If this official price increment is true, filling my fuel tank that used to be N12,000 and N13,000 from reserve will now cost N40,275.”
“That is 80 percent of my salary as a civil servant. God, I didn’t ask you for this, why Nigeria!? Why!? Lord have mercy,” he tweeted.
This is the case for many Nigerians as the fuel price hike means they spend a huge chunk of their income on transport and fueling.
To lessen the pain for workers, currently, some states are increasing the minimum wage and reducing working days to two or three with civil servants expected to work from home the remaining days of the week.
Kwara State government this week told its workers to work physically three times a week. Godwin Obaseki, governor of Edo state also announced that workers can work from home twice a week and increased the minimum wage in the state to N40,000.
Aside from the commercial bus drivers known as ‘danfo and Korope’, the drivers of ride-hailing services like Uber, Rida, InDriver, and LagRide are also not left in the lamentation as most of them had increased their fares per trip to meet current realities.
According to the ride-hailing drivers, the increment in transportation fares has pushed many of them out of business as many customers now have to cancel their trips or take commercial buses due to the high increase in fares.