The recent ban imposed on commercial motorcycles by Lagos State Government may cause more harm than good, especially to the operators of bike-hailing firms. For instance, MAX alone has invested close to $10 million in its business since inception. The company is only one out of the four major operators in Lagos.
Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of MAX (Metro Africa Xpress), Adetayo Bamiduro, disclosed in an interview that in terms of equity investment and shareholders, his firm has put in close to $10 million in the state.
According to him, in terms of financing, things that have been done cost well over $5million in the business that has been mobilised for providing microloans to Okada and vehicle operators in the state.
When asked if the state government demanded N25 million as a licensing fee, Bamiduro said, “At some point in the middle of last year, a senior civil servant did talk about licensing and also threw out a figure. What is not clear to us is whether that figure had gone through the necessary approvals, which we don’t think it had, to be honest.
“But yes, someone in government did mention N25million as a suggestion but that was never formally communicated to us, at least not any of the ride-hailing operators that we know of. So, N25million was mentioned but it wasn’t concluded at that time.”
As far as the MAX boss is concerned, no distinction was made between the formal operators like MAX and the informal operators, who do not typically wear helmets or pay attention to regulations.
Therefore, pronouncing a blanket ban that affects everybody, will definitely impact on his firm and threaten its survival as a business.
He said, “It has been quite a traumatic period for us and we are hopeful that the government would reconsider its position on this. It is not just about us (the formal operators) – it is also about the commuters as well.”
He said in an interview with the Punch, “The areas where the total ban has been enforced, the users and commuters in those areas relying on this service to move around are going to be severely affected. The areas where the ban has been promulgated are the most important areas for this business in Lagos because those areas constitute the commercial nerve centres of the state.
“The ban has the potential to affect up to 2,000 riders on our platform. If you look at us and Gokada for example, that number could easily go anywhere between 4,000 and 5,000 and that is the immediate job loss. But when you look at other indirect jobs that can be lost as a result of this, that figure could skyrocket to as high as 20,000, so the impact is not trivial and that can be quite severe.”