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Fuel Subsidy Aftermath: Auto Mechanics Struggle with Surge of Uncollected Cars

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UMUAHIA, Nigeria — The auto mechanic shops in Umuahia, the capital city of Abia State, are dealing with an unusual problem — a glut of cars left uncollected by their owners.

This unexpected logjam has followed the removal of fuel subsidies by the Nigerian Federal Government, which has driven fuel prices up to N530 per liter, causing financial stress for car owners and decreased patronage for mechanics.

In an interview with journalists on Friday, July 7, 2023, mechanics Cletus Iwundu and Kelechi Nonso reported a severe drop in their business earnings since the subsidy removal on June 1, 2023.

Many of their customers, they claimed, have left their cars in the workshops, even after all repairs had been completed.

“Our workshops are becoming car parks,” lamented Iwundu. “The customers complain about the cost of maintaining their cars and just leave them here.”

To add to the complexity of the situation, the mechanics disclosed that some customers have requested them to find buyers for their vehicles, unable to bear the burden of the new fuel prices.

“Some of my customers told me that they will collect their cars after they receive their salaries,” Nonso added.

A tour around Ohiya auto mechanic village — the largest auto market in Umuahia, situated along the Enugu-Port Harcourt Express Way — and several other local workshops, confirmed this developing trend.

The removal of fuel subsidies has led to broader economic hardship, with effects rippling out into sectors as diverse as auto repair.

As Nigeria grapples with the economic aftershocks of removing its long-standing fuel subsidy, it’s becoming clear that the consequences reach far beyond the gas pump.

Whether this move will prove beneficial in the long run, as some economists argue, is a debate that provides little solace to the struggling mechanics of Umuahia.

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