The founder, motorcycle-hailing firm, Gokada, Fahim Saleh, has finally reacted to the ban placed on the operation of commercial motorcycle operators in specific local government areas in Lagos State.
The ban, which took effect on February 1, 2020, has rendered several employees jobless and led to financial loss for investors.
One of the affected companies is Gokada, a company that created job opportunities for Lagosians. Now, the company and its employees are out of business/job for a week and still counting.
Riders are not mere motorcycle riders: In a video released by Saleh, in response to the ban, he said Gokada platform was designed for its riders to achieve their ambitions as some of them had to join the firm when they could not get a job.
He said the firm had been able to contribute to employment opportunities but the ban seems to have changed all that.
“The drivers here at Gokada, were not there to make money, they were here because they had families, they have children, they have dreams.
“They want to start businesses, they want to go to school, they have degrees already, but they couldn’t find jobs. For many, Gokada wasn’t the final place for their life. It was a stepping stone to get to that next endeavour.”
He added that, “What I will tell you is that Gokada is not just a business, it’s a mission. And every part of that mission is to always be safe, provide jobs. We did things that no one else (competitors) did in the market at the time. We provided helmet that was certified by the Department of Transportation, US Department.”
He added that out of 350,000 rides offered, only 250 minor accidents were recorded.
— Tosin Olugbenga (@TosinOlugbenga) February 3, 2020
He made the statement in response to the claim of Lagos State Government that regardless of the use of technology and branded bikes, the likes of Gokada, ORide, and MaxNG are nothing but motorcycle business.
“The ban affects them all, restricting their movements from six local government areas and nine local council development areas. These areas are revenue drivers for these bike-hailing services.
“This year, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) projected unemployment would rise to 33.5% from 23.1%. The Lagos State Government has added its quota to the rise, just thirty-one days into the year,” he added.
It’s a tough country for Saleh: The founder of Gokada is a native of Bangladesh. He is a serial entrepreneur and investor in emerging economies. He said being an investor in Lagos, Nigeria, is a tough task for him because he’s not a citizen.
But Saleh said Nigeria is a country with potential and people willing to work but all that is needed is to create the opportunities.
“It is tough for an entrepreneur who is trying to innovate, Investing his money when this is not my country. It’s a country I feel has amazing potential and has amazing people; they just need the opportunity to shine.”
What the ban means
Self-induced pain: Since Governor Sanwo-Olu stepped into the office, he has been assuring Lagosians that his administration is finding a lasting solution to the traffic issue experienced by residents of the state. The same gridlock has caused Lagos to lose some companies to Ogun State.
So, knowing that Lagos is a state that is prone to gridlock, why ban the alternative that was easing transportation in the most congested and second most populated state in Nigeria, without offering alternative(s)?
The ban has compelled those who used to park their cars at home in order to take motorcycles or tricycles to their destinations, to begin driving again. Consequently, the number of vehicles on the road has increased, compounding the traffic situation.
The high cost of living in Lagos: The ban has resulted in increase in transport fare. Commercial buses (yellow buses) have hiked their prices, and this will affect the cost of goods and services in Lagos, thereby increasing the cost of living within Lagos state.
This is coming at a time when the increase in VAT (5% to 7.5%) is expected to impact the cost of living in Nigeria; the ban will double the projection for Lagosians who are already living in a costly state compared to other Nigerian states.
Everybody can’t be artisan: The ban proves the Lagos State Government is just another typical African government that glorifies artisanship to hide its failure of not providing needed job opportunities that are in line with what Nigerians studied at their various tertiary institutions.
Besides, employment opportunities are changing from the traditional banking and engineering career paths because technology is opening new markets but Governor Sanwo-Olu wants riders, who were earning about N20,000 daily, to become bricklayers, painters, and tailors.
When unemployment begins to rise, the Nigerian government begins to force its citizens to look inwards, ignoring the fact that everybody can’t be an artisan. If everybody becomes an entrepreneur, who will work for who? A saturated market has its disadvantages, as it crashes price, limits revenue opportunity, thereby, preventing expansion and causing the market to lose investment attraction.
Nigeria to begin gold production in 2021 with the Segilola Gold Project
The gold produced is expected to become a part of Nigeria’s external reserve.
Nigeria is set to commence gold production in 2021 after the launch of the Segilola Gold Project in Osun state. This was disclosed by the Honourable Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, while taking stock of his first year in office as Minister.
In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Ayodeji Adeyemi, Adegbite said that the project is expected to create about direct 400 direct jobs and 1000 indirect jobs along the gold value chain.
He added that once the project takes off, Nigeria would become a major gold producing country, a move that would hasten the diversification of the economy and reduce unemployment among the youth populace.
He noted that the government was creating an enabling environment across the gold value chain. According to him, “the international roadshows we have had in the past have borne fruits. Today we have Thor exploration in Osun State through the Segilola Gold project, which is projected to start producing in the first half of next year.”
The minister also noted that the government has licenced two gold refineries to refine gold to the London Bullion Market Association, LBMA, standard.
About the Ajaokuta Steel Plant, Adegbite explained that the global travel restriction caused by the pandemic had prevented the technical experts from Russia from coming over to the plant to conduct an audit of the steel plant. He assured that this would be done as soon as the flight restriction was over, and there are hopes to revive the plant before the expiration of President Buhari’s tenure.
Why it matters
The take-off of gold production in Nigeria is expected to open up an industry centred around gold production, from equipment leasing and repairs, logistic and transport. Note that gold requires a specialized means of transport, security, insurance, aggregators among others. These, according to Adegbite, would ultimately create tens of thousands of jobs across the gold value chain.
The minister further stated that Nigeria has mined, processed, and refined gold under the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative, PAGMI. The first batch of PAGMI gold was unveiled at a presentation ceremony to President Buhari on July 16, 2020.
The gold produced is expected to become a part of Nigeria’s external reserve after being purchased by the Central Bank.
“PAGMI will result in the creation of thousands of new mining and formalized jobs, leading to poverty alleviation for many households. Under the scheme, artisanal and small scale gold miners will earn more from higher productivity, better recovery rates through mechanization of operations, and better access to reliable geological information,” he said.
AGF launches Committee on Financial Transparency Guidelines and Open Treasury Portal
This initiative will provide the public with financial information of all MDAs.
Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation has launched a Committee on Federal Government Financial Transparency Guidelines and Open Treasury Portal to enable Transparency on economic governance policy.
Speaking during the launch today in Abuja, the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, FCNA, said the committee would provide the public with financial information of all MDAs to promote accountability and anti-corruption campaign.
The AGF said that the Honourable Minister of Finance and National Planning (HMFBNP) had in July 2018, presented a memo to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for the approval to establish the Financial Transparency Guidelines and Open Treasury Portal.
“The approved Transparency Policy provides for Transparency requirements, thresholds and responsibilities as part of Government Policy on accountability in line with Freedom of Information Act 2014.
“The HMFBNP, then constituted the composition of the Quality Assurance and Compliance Committee which membership were drawn from MDAs,” he said.
Idris said that the Committee would implement transparent governance and improve the FG’s whistleblowing programme, which would help Nigerians report financial crimes in the MDAs.
He disclosed that the operations of the committee would be accounted through the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation which will offer its secretariat services to the committee, and enable the committee request information and clarification.
Idris added that the Committee would report to the Accountant General and the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed monthly, citing that the Committee would work transparently “without fear or favour”.
FG meets group to access AfCFTA’s $650 billion market
AfCFTA is aligned to the ministry’s twin national objectives of industrialization and export based diversification.
The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment has met with executives of the Nigerian Agribusiness Group (NABG) on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and access the continent’s market worth $659 billion, in mostly manufacturing goods and services.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo during the meeting on Monday.
The minister emphasized on the importance of AfCFTA, as it is aligned to the ministry’s twin national objectives of industrialization and export based diversification. It provides us with a preferential access to African market worth over $650bn, in mostly manufactured goods .
Back story: Nairametrics had reported when Aissata Koffi Yameogo, ECOWAS’ Programmes Officer in charge of implementing AfCFTA rules of origin in the continent, said that the implementation will expand market for the manufacturing industry to 1.3 billion West African citizens, without additional duties and fees.
“It will build production capacity in the region and develop the value chain, and increased export to other African states” she added.
The benefits would also encourage member states to specialise in the production of a certain good where they have a comparative advantage, thus enhancing the quality and quantity of local production and creating more jobs.
He said, “This would improve our competitiveness and the perception of our products and services in the African market. Intra-African trade in Agro products and services will develop our local value chain, create jobs and increase our GDP.”
Today, the Honourable Minister @NiyiAdebayo_ , had a meeting with executives of the Nigerian Agribusiness Group(NABG), on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement. pic.twitter.com/GOhVzLVJb2
— FMITI Nigeria (@TradeInvestNG) August 10, 2020
According to International Monetary Fund (IMF), the elimination of tariffs could boost trade in Africa by 15-25% in the medium term, and once fully implemented, is expected to cover all 55 African countries, with a combined GDP of about US$2.2 trillion.