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High vehicles’ prices: Are Nigerians riding their last cars? — By Abdullahi Yusuf

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 High vehicles prices Are Nigerians riding their last cars By Abdullahi Yusuf
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It is no longer news that prices of goods and services in the country have soared to unprecedented levels, and frighteningly enough, they are still rising.The situation has continued to take a debilitating toll on Nigerians, deflating their purchasing power everyday.

The citizens are now struggling to access goods and services at prohibitive prices.The goods include foodstuff, medicine and the vehicles they ride,among which are cars of various brands and prices.

Apart from food, medicine and shelter, mobility is probably the next most important need of an individual,and for the purpose of this write-up, the focus is on those citizens who currently own cars of various brands and sizes.

Many, if not most of those cars, were purchased when the global economy,not just Nigerian economy, was stable and flourishing; when the people’s purchasing power was strong enough to enable them to access a good number of goods and services.

Now, prices of cars, especially the used ones, popularly known as “Tokumbo”, have skyrocketed to a level beyond the reach of most prospective buyers.Those who already have them are toiling with high costs of maintaining them alongside the soaring costs of meeting other daily needs.

The high prices of the cars are largely blamed on the high exchange rate of the Naira to the US dollar and the CFA Francs which are the main Currency Notes being used to import the second hand cars into the country.

With the Naira currently exchanging at the rate of over N700 to a dollar in the parallel market,and the 1,000 CFA Francs exchanging for a soaring rate, prices of cars have kept rising, sending jitters down the spine of both current car owners and prospective car buyers.

Investigation has shown that average fairly good imported cars that used to cost between N700,000 and N1,000,000, for instance,now sell for between N1.5 million and N2 million, while those that sold for N2 million now go for between N3.5 million and N5 million, depending on their brands and conditions.

This is certainly not a good development for those who own cars presently, because as the cars depreciate due the continuous tear and wear on them, the owners naturally hope to change the vehicles to acquire new Tokumbo ones, or even brand new ones.

But this dream is being threatened by the rising prices which are gradually making second new cars unaffordable for the existing owners who are already grappling with the high costs of maintaining the vehicles, in the first place.

Worst hit by this predicament are car owners in the low income group whose little resources are already deflated by other basic necessities such as feeding, medical care and clothing.

The findings further revealed that many of the car owners in this group whom include civil servants,both serving and retired, small scale businessmen and women,have parked the vehicles as they can no longer afford the costs of their maintenance, including fuelling.

“I am now torn between maintaining my car and feeding myself and family.I have opted for the latter because feeding is more important than mobility and one has to eat to be able to ride the car, in the first place,” a Tokumbo car owner who preferred anonymity, told this Writer.

Another one said:”With the current high cost of living occasioned by the global economic downturn, I cannot afford a new Tokumbo car,except of course, by some Divine Providence.

“My present car is aging fast and thus giving me more maintenance troubles.I need to change it to a fairly used one, but this dream is gradually becoming a mirage because of the prevailing economic situation,” he further told me in confidence.

While yours sincerely is not suggesting that Nigerians generally may be riding their last cars, the situation is already projecting that many among them, especially the struggling ones, may be riding their last cars.

In fact, many have either parked the cars indefinitely or sold them out completely, and used the proceeds to finance things that are more crucial to their lives as individuals.There is God.

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