• Monday, May 20, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Bad roads account for N300bn on vehicle maintenance in Nigeria yearly

The deplorable condition of roads in the country has continued to take a toll on human lives and other resources, with an estimated N300 billion spent yearly on maintenance of cars damaged by the roads, BuysinessDay investigations have shown.

According to the 2007 figure from the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Nigeria currently has about  seven million registered vehicles on the roads, with four used vehicles for every new one registered yearly.

Of this figure, heavy duty trucks and other articulated vehicles and commercial buses account  for 50 percent of the total annual expenditure.

The frightening figure of seven million vehicles and N300billion spent on yearly repairs and spare parts replacement, along with the near collapse of the rail system and the high cost of air travel, have put a lot of pressure on the nation’s road transport industry, which accounts for over 75 per cent of mobility needs in Nigeria.

Webber Uerie, a foreign industry analyst who spoke with BusinessDay on the sidelines of the ongoing IAA Commercial Vehicles Exhibition in Hannover, Germany, said Nigerians spent an estimated N300 billion on purchase of automotive spare parts  and maintenance cost annually, on broken down commercial  and private vehicles.

For high-end luxury vehicles, it costs an average of  N850,000  to  N1million to replace some of the original shock absorbers and suspension  parts of the four wheel systems  imported from  overseas original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

automobile-workshop

There is also the problem of erosion impacting on the road networks, as sections of the roads are often washed away,  as a result of poorly planned, or non-existent drainage systems. 

John Gbasa, chief executive officer of WAO Global, Japan, says the seven million vehicles estimate is conservative, and warned that Nigeria cannot develop with rickety infrastructure, or attract the much needed foreign direct investment (FDI) or tourism into a country with poor roads and poor, or non-existent transportation alternatives.

On many parts of the road networks, normal interactions are frustrated by gullies and craters which often lead to regular costly break downs.

Potholes and detours mean that vehicles keep breaking down, while  on many occasions, roadside emergency mechanics have sprung up to assist stranded commuters, sometimes with disastrous consequences.

This is inspite of several repairs or construction of new roads being undertaken by the government, according to a source at the Federal Ministry of Works.

As a result of the deplorable roads and escalating cost of original spare parts from the few dealerships that exist primarily to rip-off customers, vehicle owners   often face the frustration and anguish of patronising fake and used spare parts sellers.

MIKE OCHONMA