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Business News

LCC strikes back, says many e-tag users owe money from February glitch

If you are a regular commuter along the Lekki Expressway who uses the electronic toll on Admiralty Way but sometime in March noticed your e-tag was no longer working, the truth is that you might have racked up a negative balance with the LCC (Lekki Concession Company).

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LCC strikes back, says many e-tag users owe money from February glitch

If you are a regular commuter along the Lekki Expressway who uses the electronic toll on Admiralty Way but sometime in March noticed your e-tag was no longer working, the truth is you might have racked up a negative balance with the Lekki Concession Company (LCC).

As seen in the image above, the negative balance of N14,510 was provided by the LCC office located on Admiralty Way to this writer. This happened after an enquiry was made about the e-tag no longer working.

Commuters in Lekki that have been complaining about traffic at the toll recently are likely affected by e-tag users migrating to the regular toll.

How did this happen? Back in March, Nairametrics reported a system glitch that prevented commuters’ balances from being updated in real time as they passed through the toll. Following the incident, LCC sent an email apologizing for the inconvenience and also included this ominous warning:

 “Please bear in mind that the systems will be updated accordingly and affected accounts once synchronized, will be charged for the passages made previously which were not immediately debited as it should.”

Judgment day is upon us: This writer met a full house at the LCC office on Thursday, June 6th, as several commuters were greeted with some shocking negative balances. One quoted balance was as high as N44,000. Without paying off the balance, it is impssible to use the e-tag toll gate.

Is LCC reflecting the correct balances or adding “jara” on top? LCC claims to have records supported by license plate numbers that show the date and time each vehicle passed through the toll. If you want access to those records, you can request for them at the office and they will be sent within 24 hours. However, we feel that in this day and age, such reports should not take more than a few minutes to be generated and sent to commuters.

Could this have been avoided? Yes, LCC should have sent frequent reminders to commuters about the need to top up their accounts following the glitch correction. Follow-up emails should have been sent after the initial one on March 7th. Also, emails should have been supported by text messages, as some people don’t check their emails often.

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Most importantly, as we reported in our last article on this matter, LCC still does not have real-time balance updates for customers. If commuters had a way to check their e-tag balances in real time, those with a negative balance would have been able to pay them off before they grew larger.

Next steps: Go online to https://www.lcc.com.ng/contactus.asp to find the LCC Customer care office closest to you. Then brace yourself in case you haven’t topped up in a long time.

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    Real Estate and Construction

    Why rents increased by 60% in Lagos, border towns

    Factors responsible for the hike are rising cost of building materials, lack of transparency between asking and achievable prices.

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    Rents across Lagos (Mainland and Island) and Ogun State have increased by over 60% between December 2020 and April 2021.

    Findings by Nairametrics revealed that while rent had increased by over 30% in some Lagos border towns like Sango-Ota, Arepo and Magboro, property owners across Yaba, Magodo, Ikoyi, and Lekki axis also inflated their rents by about 33% within the same period.

    For instance, rents for one-bedroom (self-contain) and two-bedroom apartments, which are the most sought after in Magboro (one of the Lagos border towns) have increased from an average of N120,000 and N160,000 to N200,000 and N260,000 respectively. This represents a 33.33% and 30% increase respectively.

    Similarly, rents in some key areas in Lagos Mainland are not cheaper. In Magodo phase 2, property owners charged between N1 million and N1.2 million for a 2-bedroom apartment, but now, a potential tenant is required to pay between N1.3 million and N1.56 million as rent (depending on how old the house is), an increase of approximately 30%.

    Though rents appear relatively cheaper in Surulere, especially around Aguda, they also increased within the period under review. While rent on two-bedroom apartments and three-bedroom in Aguda has gone up from N850,000 and N1 million to N1.2 million and N1.4 million respectively, around Ogunlana drive, two-bedroom apartments that were let out at N950,000 now cost about N1.2 million.

    Meanwhile, rents around the Lekki axis have also gone northward, as new tenants are forced to pay more before occupying houses. A 4-bedroom semi-detached house without boys quarters in Lekki Phase 1 and Ajah, which used to cost N3.8 million and N2 million, has risen to N4.5 million and N2.5 million respectively.

    In Sangotedo, rent on three-bedroom flats has also increased from N1.2 million as of December 2020 to N1.6 million.

    Why the rise?

    Industry experts, who spoke with Nairametrics in separate interviews, explained that there are several factors responsible for the development and agreed that some of the reasons are not fundamentally strong.

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    Paul Bamigbola, Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Lagos Chapter, told Nairametrics that a significant factor responsible for the hike is the rising cost of building materials.

    According to him, property owners now spend more to build houses, as the cost of cement, iron rods, sanitary wares and tiles, among others, have all risen significantly.

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    For instance, the cost of steel, which was sold at N234,000 per tonne as of March 2020, had increased to N380,000 at the end of March 2021. This represents a 62% increase within the period under review.

    Dangote Cement increased from N2,600 to N3,800 (though it is sold at N3,600 in some areas in Lagos), Lafarge Cement and BUA Cement increased from N2,400 and N2,250 to N3,600 and N3,250 respectively within the same period.

    Bamigbola said, “The high cost of acquiring land, including the actual cost of building, also adds to the reasons property prices in Lagos are high.”

    Stanbic 728 x 90

    But when our analyst pointed out to Bamigbola that the hike also affected old houses, he said, “To also increase the rents, most of the owners of the old house renovate the houses a little before letting them out. They do that to increase the rent to about N400,000 if the owners of new houses charge N500,000.”

    Another factor responsible for the hike, especially in Lagos, is the lack of formal housing. With over 3.8 million households in Lagos, up to 2.1 million households are without formal housing. This presents a supply gap of over 55%.

    Chief Executive Officer, Richfield Limited, a real estate company, Samson Odegbami in a recent interview with Nairametrics said, “As typical in every market, excess demand drives up prices. This could make landlords, who frequently get requests for their available spaces, increase the prices and let out or sell the property to the highest bidder.

    Estate Intel, in its report, stated that the lack of transparency between asking and achievable prices was also another factor.

    It added that the multiple agents and developers involved in marketing properties typically list these properties for significantly higher amounts than what they are willing to accept.

    It stated, “We expect developers or agents to aim to achieve the highest possible price, with a window for negotiation, leaving a wider than usual spread between asking and achievable prices.
    A large spread between asking and achievable rent makes average market rent seem artificially high and encourages other developers to hold fast on those artificially listed prices, keeping average rents or sale prices high.”

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    Bottomline

    Based on the experts’ views, the rent prices could be very misleading, especially because most of the properties on the listed platforms in Nigeria are priced well above what is achievable.

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    Business News

    NCC discloses application requirements for Proof of Concept trial license

    The NCC stated that it had been inundated with requests related to trial frequencies for the purpose of verification of certain concepts.

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    NCC Building, MTN, Glo, Airtel, 9mobile, NCC, Acquisition, Teleology

    The National Communications Commission (NCC) has released application requirements for trial frequencies in certain spectrum brands under the Proof of Concept (POC) Trial license.

    This was disclosed on Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in a statement signed by the Director of Public Affairs, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde; and made public on the Commission’s verified Twitter account, @NgComCommission.

    The NCC stated that it had been inundated with requests related to trial frequencies for the purpose of verification of certain concepts.

    The requirements listed by the NCC include:

    • The PoC trial license application must only be granted to Original Equipment Manufacturers(OEMS)/Vendors, or operators in conjunction with their Original Equipment Manufacturers.
    • PoC trial shall not exceed a period of three months effective from the date of approval.
    • Equipment for Proof of Concept must be ‘Type-approved’ by the Commission.
    • Appropriate Spectrum fees must be paid in accordance with the NCC’s regulations.

    In case you missed it

    Nairametrics reported that Nigerian telco giant MTN recently announced its acquisition of an additional 10MHZ spectrum in the 800MHz band from Intercellular Nigeria Limited.

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