ENUGU – The Enugu State Government has threatened to sue beneficiaries of its cab scheme who defaulted to meet their obligations in the revolving loan arrangement.
The Commissioner for Transport, Mr Chuka Utazi, made the threat in Enugu on Tuesday during a meeting with the beneficiaries of the scheme.
Utazi said the state government was frustrated by the inability of the drivers to off-set their bills since the inception of the scheme in 2008.
According to him, the government is under pressure from the bank to repay the revolving loan for the taxi scheme initiated by Gov Sullivan Chime to reduce poverty in the state.
He said the duration for the repayment which was supposed to be in 36 months had exceeded five years.
“People like to do things the wrong way. These drivers were given the cars on hire purchase to complete payment within three years but unfortunately many of them have defaulted in the payment as agreed.
“The essence of this meeting is to get feedback from the cab operators who are managing phases one to three of the car scheme which the government put in place.
“It is to make the operators to be conscious of what they are doing. The scheme is up to five years now but some people have yet to complete their payment.
“The governor has given us the mandate that anybody who benefited from this scheme must pay back the loan in order to sustain the scheme.
“The collecting bank, Umuchinemere Microfinance Bank, has the fiat of the Attorney General of the State to commence the suit on behalf of the government,’’ the commissioner said.
The Chairman of the Cab Drivers Association, Mr Tony Chime, blamed the insurance companies handling the cars for failing to provide cover for them during accidents.
“We want the government to assist us because the insurance companies have failed us. They park our spoilt cars in their workshop for years without doing anything.
“Where do they want us to get the money to pay when our vehicles are grounded?’’ Chime asked.
He appealed to the state government to review the scheme and ensure that the insurance companies lived up to the agreement.
Another driver, Mr Jerry Nnam, expressed dismay at the management of the scheme, saying the government imposed a lot of rules and fines on them which hindered them from repaying the loan.
Nnam called on the government to provide an enabling environment for the business to thrive in the state.
Under the first phase of the scheme, the government provided 200 cars for the beneficiaries at N2.7 million each, including insurance for a period of three years.
The government also rolled out 300 cars in the second phase at N2.8 million each for the same period while the third phase had 220 vehicles at the rate of N2.6 million each with insurance cover. (NAN)