Mechanics in Kano State have lamented low patronage amid the acute hardships posed by the abrupt removal of fuel subsidy by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
A cross-section of mechanics who spoke to WikkiTimes in Kano metropolis disclosed that the policy change which pushed the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) to the rooftop has drastically decimated the number of customers that patronise their services. This, they said, affects their livelihoods.
Adams Abdurrahman, a mechanic who operates a car workshop at Lawal Dambazau Junction in Kano, revealed that since the romal of the subsidy, only fewer vehicles make their way to his garage.
“Fuel subsidy removal has significantly affected our work,” he said. “Ten to 15 cars were being attended to in the past but now we hardly get 4 -5 a day.”
“I have 10 apprentices working under me directly, but because there is less work that we do now unlike in the past prior to the fuel hike, only 2 -3 of them come to work,” he continued. “The reason is that what I give them daily to feed and pay for their transport fare isn’t enough for them and this is one of the effects of the fuel subsidy removal on us. I allow them to be flexible.”
Another mechanic, Mikail Yusuf, said his workshop in Rimin Gata area remains less busy compared to weeks ago when petroleum product was cheaper and more vehicles were on the roads.
According to Yusuf, their work site now operates marginally due to poor patronage from clients.
“There is a drastic reduction in the number of vehicles we used to attend to earlier before the removal. As you can see, we were sitting down when you came in but that won’t happen before. Prior to this moment, as soon as you deviate from the main road, you will see cars parked everywhere here.
“Most of our customers now have parked their vehicles, they don’t drive often now. On average, we used to work on 20 vehicles a day but now everything is dry. It is God that sustains us now. We have mechanics, panel beaters but we are all waiting to see what God will do,” he told WikkiTimes.
Another mechanic in Rimin Gata Workshop, Saifullaihi Ruwaya, said some clients pressurise them to devise means of reducing fuel consumption in their cars.
“Due to this problem people will come to us and say that their vehicles are consuming too much fuel, so what can we do for the car to minimise fuel usage. But I think that is wrong. The fuel consumption is the same although we do some connection that reduces fuel consumption a bit for some types of vehicles not every car. It is the car wiring that we make some changes in to reduce.,” Ruwaya said.
Rabiu Abdulmumin, a tricycle repairer, explained that the poor patronage has become evident in their sparsely populated garage.
“Honestly, we would only say ‘inna lillahi wa inna ila’ … We just thank God because without restraint we would be fighting with our spouses because of no money. Customers have drastically dropped. I personally with my apprentices work on 20 -30 tricycles a day for major and minor repairs. Currently, if we get 3-5 machines we will be happier a day,” he said.
Alyasa’u Kabir, another tricycle mechanic, narrated that due to the sharp increase in fuel prices their garage now records fewer tricycle riders’ visitations.
“I thought initially that since people are parking their cars, tricycle riders will have more patronage which will automatically translate into more works in our garage. The reality proves otherwise. I think people now minimise their movements and others are now trekking,” Kabir said.
“I barely now make half of what I used to make prior to this heartless policy. As of this afternoon, only two tricycles came here for repairs,” he added.
A motorcycle and generator mechanic, Abdulmanaf Muhammad, whose garage in Panshekara Road remains less busy said: “Sincerely speaking the removal of subsidy has a great impact on our service here way more than you expect. Because many have stopped using generators in their houses because the price is now out of reach of some people. …the same thing with motorcycles… we have many in the garage, we used to work on 20 or more motorcycles and generators a day but now if you get 5 a day just thank God.”
In Dorayi area, Abdullahi Umar noted a similar trend in the number of patronages they engage. “Truly work has drastically depleted here because a lot of people I think park their bike due to the fuel price increase. On the average we used to have like ten bikes a day albeit sometimes we even get more than that while at times less but currently, we do get three to four days.”
The mechanics further decried that their businesses halting at the moment is a great challenge considering the harsh economic situation of the country.
A private car owner, Kabir Isah said the fuel subsidy removal necessitated the suspension using his car and prefers his motorcycle due to fuel and other needs. “I used to fill my tank at less than 20, 000,” he said.
Sani Zubair explained that he minimises movement with his car which invariably reduces his possibility of going to mechanics. “I deliberately reduced using my car when running errands,” he said. “I use it mostly for dropping and picking my kids from school, all other things I use on my motorcycle. That means less going to workshops for services and repairs.”