Keke NAPEP business is one aspect of transportation that is always booming even in the Federal Capital Territory. A Keke operator in Abuja, Adediran Olusola, attributes this to the ever surging Abuja population which keeps increasing on a daily basis as movement of people from one place to other is also constant. ADEOLA AKINBOBOLA reports.
Commercial tricycle business popularly known as “Keke NAPEP” which started as a spare time engagement, is now considered a worthy business by the operators. With a tricycle rider delivering between N5,000 to N7,000 daily, the business generates at least a tangible amount of money daily.
According to reports, commercial tricycle business contributes to the economy of those engaged in the sector and by extension an expansion of gross domestic product (GDP).
The use of tricycles for commercial purpose had been on in some parts of the country as a popular means of commercial transportation across the country was in response to the hard times.
That means the economic growth cannot support the burgeoning population growth rate. In addition, Nigeria turns out about 1.5 million tertiary institution graduates annually without any plan to gainfully engage them after school.
Many of them after embarking on job hunting for a number of years are frustrated and are willing to take up any job, including riding the tricycle, just to keep body and soul together.
According to 32-year-old Olusola, after five years of job searching, “I decided to take up the job. It is with it, I cater for myself, wife, children, siblings and aged parents. So, if a better job comes, it’s welcome and if it does not, I am contented with this.
Advent of Keke NAPEP
President Olusegun Obasanjo introduced Keke NAPEP in the year 2002 as part of the poverty alleviation programme . Since then, it has become the means of upkeep to many and also become a safer alternative, conveying people on short distance journey to their destinations.
Nigerian youth have welcome it gladly, since it gives them a better alternative to staying at home. It also gives anyone who is willing, the opportunity to invest in this lucrative means of transportation.
Many people; young and old, educated and unlettered are easily lured into joining the business because of the ease with which money is made.
One of the features of living in urban centres is the endemic traffic gridlock in which residents on a daily basis lose productive man-hours and business appointments.
To aid fast movement and journey through gullies and potholes on city roads, many residents ride on it not minding the drain it causes in their purse.
Environmental factors have also contributed to the rising interest of Nigeria in the business. The shrinking size of Lake Chad and extended dry season has made cattle rearing and farming in the northern part of Nigeria less lucrative than they used to be. Therefore, many youth from the North migrate down South to become tricycle riders.
It is a bit easy to acquire a tricycle for commercial purposes for those who are determined and are willing to take the risk. Usually, there are dealers who are ready to give out the motorcycles on hire purchase agreement to the riders who either pay weekly or monthly installments.
Checks revealed that most of those who get the tricycles on hire purchase arrangement usually pay back within 18 months.
Quite a number of politicians who embark on poverty alleviation programmes often give it out to beneficiaries of their gesture. Such gestures have helped many people to become riders.
However, despite being an avenue for young and unemployed Nigerians to eke out a living, tricycle riding is not without its downsides.
Reduction of the stock of artisans
With many artisans abandoning their trade to seek easy money from the business, a critical sector of the economy is being endangered. A number of companies are finding it difficult to employ artisans who are critical to their production. Not only does this hamper the progress of the companies, it also affects the growth of the economy.
Checks further revealed that artisans such as tilers and masons are brought into the country from the neighbouring countries. The implication of this is that while Nigerians are complaining of unemployment, the available ones are being given out to foreign nationals.
Insecurity has escalated with the rise in the use of tricycles for commercial purposes. When insurgency broke out in the North, tricycles were used by the insurgents to carry out their attacks.
Quite a number of state governments have banned the use of Okada in city centres and accommodated tricycle because of the threat they pose to the security of the people. In many estates in the country, Okada riders are not allowed opted for tricycle. Okada is seen as a means through which vices are perpetrated.
Nigerian youth have welcomes it gladly, since it gives them better alternative staying at home .it also gives anyone who is willing ,the opportunity to invest in this lucrative means of transportation.
Doing it yourself
In case you choose to operate the machine yourself, the result will encourage you to do more. Daily, you could make up to N4,000 to N7,000 depending on the turn out of passengers in your location.
There are also other charges required to pay to the Association daily, part of the money goes to the government purse . The maintenance is cheap, the parts are readily available,N1,000 fuel could take you for a whole day if your carburetor is sound enough.