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Business News

Nigerians lament over hike in train fare caused by black market racketeering

Operators have been called out for perpetrating a scam that forces passengers to buy tickets from them at hiked rates.

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Nigerians lament over hike in train fare by black market operators

Before Gbenga Aina, a software engineer, checked the site of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) to book a seat and buy a ticket for his sister going to Kaduna, he was optimistic that there would be no hitch.

But providence had other plans for Aina, as he found that trains for that day and next were fully booked. That is not all. He decided to go to the Abuja station, hoping to find a passenger willing to sell their space to him.

One hour later, he was still out of luck. While leaving the station perturbed, a furtive voice called out to him, “Oga, are you going to Kaduna? I can help you get tickets from a friend. My name is Ahmed”

“Please help me,” Aina responded. “My sister has to go back to Kaduna today but I found that the coaches are filled for two days.”

Ahmed, who appeared to be in his early 30s, said, “That is not a problem. I can get five tickets for you but it is more expensive than what you will get online. If you can pay N6,000 for one, I will get them now.”

Aina wanted to ignore the stocky man’s offer initially but changed his mind when he remembered that the offer appeared to be his last chance.

“I had no choice but to pay N6,000 for a trip that shouldn’t exceed N3,195. That was so painful to me,” he later narrated to Nairametrics.

“I was shocked when I got on board and realized the train was not full but some individuals had decided to hoard the tickets, so they could sell higher in the black market,” Aina said.

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READ: FG flags off $3 billion rail project that will connect about 14 Southern, Northern states

Another patron simply called Fitila took to Twitter, last Sunday, lamenting about activities of some individuals, who deliberately frustrated the efforts of the Federal Government to aid a good transportation system in Nigeria.

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He tweeted, “Went to drop my sister at the train station in Abuja. The whole ticket for today and tomorrow is fully booked online.

“We had to buy economy class from the black market for N6,000 yet the train is empty. How is Buhari our problem when we are unfair to ourselves. We are horrible people.”

READ: Lagos says blue, red rail lines will be ready by December 2022

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Amanda is another patron, who also lamented over the same issue as Aina on Twitter.

She tweeted in response to Aina, “You are lucky you got it for N6,000…I got mine for N10,000 … wickedness in the highest order the ministry should be aware of this.”

One-Eyed, another Twitter user, said, “The online ticketing was supposed to make it easier. Some of those workers at the station need to be dealt with. They book all tickets and try to sell them at exuberant prices. You enter a train and most of it is empty. Was told to pay 5k for the ticket of 2700, I canceled my trip o.”

READ: Transport Minister says $1.9 billion for Kano-Maradi rail to be sourced from Europe

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Demola Alimi also took to Twitter lamenting over the racketeering of tickets.

“If this is true then the online ticketing system hasn’t solved the problem of racketeering. People should be free to buy as many tickets as they want, the control is to allow boarding on a 1st come 1st serve basis. Govt. makes more money and the train is available for everyone to board, “Alimi said.

A Software Engineer, Segun Mustapha, told Nairametrics that he was not surprised when he read about the activities of the black market operators on Twitter.

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Though, he admitted he has not experienced such but called on the Rotimi Amaechi led-Ministry of Transportation to ensure such activities are removed from the system.

He said, “It should not be a big deal for the government to do of it has the political will to do such. We used to experience similar situations in the aviation industry before now and that was easier because airlines are operated by private firms.

“It is a system failure because it is not the touts selling at exorbitant rates that were booking the tickets online but we should not allow such to linger. Government should ensure that tickets booked online are not re allocated at the station, if it is determined to get rid of the black market operators.”

If the e-ticket platform is sabotaged, Olawale Ademilua warned that existing and potential customers would be frustrated and may revert to other means of transportation.

He said, “I believe those activities are teething problems peculiar to a new development like the rail transportation, which should not be treated mildly, else it will come to stay.  We should ensure that the e-ticket platform are not sabotage to frustrate customers.”

Efforts to get the response of the spokesperson of NRC, Mahmood Yakub, were abortive, as he could not respond to the allegations when contacted by Nairametrics.

He said, “I cannot respond now to the allegations, call me on Monday.”

What you should know

  • Since the launch of the Abuja-Kaduna train service in 2016, Nigerians have emphasized the need for an e-ticketing platform to enable Nigerians book online so as to curb the unabating ticket racketeering and reduce passengers stress of going to the station to purchase tickets.
  • The Federal Executive Council in January 2020 approved the sum of N900million to a private firm, Secure IB, to provide a secure automated fare collection solution for the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC).
  • Amaechi had explained that the agreement, which would be on a public-private partnership basis, would have the company, SECURE IB, spend the sum of N900million for the E-ticketing project and receive 20% of the revenue that would accrue from the project.

Abiola has spent about 14 years in journalism. His career has covered some top local print media like TELL Magazine, Broad Street Journal, The Point Newspaper.The Bloomberg MEI alumni has interviewed some of the most influential figures of the IMF, G-20 Summit, Pre-G20 Central Bank Governors and Finance Ministers, Critical Communication World Conference.The multiple award winner is variously trained in business and markets journalism at Lagos Business School, and Pan-Atlantic University. You may contact him via email - [email protected]

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    Reviews

    Review of the V bank version 3.0: Nigeria’s first intelligent digital banking app

    V Bank has upgraded its application to offer new services to its users and improve operational efficiency.

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    Review of the V bank version 3.0: Nigeria's first intelligent Digital banking App

    Nigeria’s fully digital bank, V Bank, a product of VFD microfinance bank Launched March 8, 2020, has upgraded its application to offer new services to its users and improve operational efficiency.

    The new VBank app will enable users to securely access their accounts to automate recurring bills, manage multiple cards from different banks, send and receive funds using a unique QR code, track spending, generate virtual cards for online payments, buy airtime and data, fix deposits and make free transfers, all within a sleek, responsive and easy-to-use interface.

    This review explains how to download and use the new V bank version 3.0 app. During the review, we took into consideration the design, user experience, usability, new features of the App, and how it functions well.

    The device used for the review: Apple iPhone Xsmax

    Getting started with V bank

    These are the following information required for successfully registering as a user on the V bank app:

    • Sign Up by downloading the V bank app and creating your account
    • Input your BVN-linked phone number on the app and date of birth
    • Take a photo with a white background to Validate your identity
    • Verify your identity by inputting your BVN number on the app or use your existing bank account.
    • Finally, a signature for validation and a four-digit pin password.

    What’s New on the V bank App?

    The new app, version 3.0 comes with some new cool features that are rather unique. Let’s talk about all the new features and our experience while setting up and performing different transactions.

    New V bank Interface

    After you log in or sign up, the first thing you see is the V bank dashboard and it is pretty cool. The UI and interactions are super neat. The use of colours and components under the analytics section is simple and clean. This is perfect!!

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    New V bank interface

    Send and receive money using Proximity payments and QR payment features

    V bank users can now send or receive money easily through the proximity or QR payment features. You can pay or receive money from a nearby V bank app user using the proximity payment feature. Click on the proximity payment icon and start searching for a nearby user to pay while receiving payment wait for the user to start searching.

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    Recipients using the proximity payment feature must have their phones at close range.

     

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    Another interesting way you can make a transfer easily is by scanning the QR code of the user receiving the payment.

    To receive a payment, each user must generate a QR code which will be used to scan while making a transfer.

    The QR payment feature is actually unique as it enables users to make or receive payments from near and far locations. The only requirement is to have the QR code to scan for payment.

    QR Code

    Intelligent Mobile Top-up feature

    We always want to send airtime or data to people as a surprise and most times we have the mobile number but don’t know the network provider. The new V bank app comes with an intelligent mobile top-up feature that detects each network provider automatically with just the phone number. You don’t need to call the recipient asking for his network provider, the app does that for you.

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    Airtime top-up

    Cardless Withdrawal

    It is not always convenient and secure to carry a wallet or purse with ATM cards. You can make a careless withdrawal without your ATM cards using the V bank app by generating a code. The app also helps you in locating the nearest ATM locations for your careless withdrawal. This feature is convenient and more secure.

    Transfer funds to multiple recipients at once

    Imagine how tired Don Jazzy will feel after paying each follower that won his giveaway separately. It actually is exhausting but the V bank eliminates that stress with the new multiple beneficiary feature. You can send money with just one transaction to up to 5 people.

    Multiple transfer feature

    Track your spending

    The Analytics dashboard shows a beautiful interface with total inflow (payment made) and total outflow (Amount withdraw or debited). This gives you a clear pictorial overview of your income and expenses.

    app

    Under categories, users can track their spending such as online/POS, utility, mobile, family. work, lifestyle, food, utility, transport, and more on a monthly basis. This feature enables you to Identify bad spending habits and make adjustments to improve your finances.

    Overview of income flow, expenses, and budget

    Manage Multiple cards from different accounts

    One of the App’s latest features is managing multiple cards from different accounts.

    We requested a new virtual card which cost 500 Naira ($1) for a new one and it expires in three years. You can also request and activate V bank physical card using the app. The new feature enables users to add ATM cards from different bank accounts on the app and all the debit cards can be managed using the V bank app under the cards section.

    Managing your cards section

    Automate Recurring Transactions

    The new feature allows users to automate recurring transactions weekly, monthly, or on a yearly basis depending on the type of service requested. You can easily schedule payment for your DSTV bill on a monthly basis.

    Other features you would be interested in

    • Make free transfers i.e there are no hidden transfer/ transaction fees.
    • You can open a target savings account, fixed deposit account, or a joint account using the V bank App.
    • Request a loan
    • Chat with a customer care representative using the app
    • Earn money when you invite your friends
    • Become a Veelager and earn profit

    Final thoughts

    The new version of V bank is well designed for both new and existing users of digital banking. The app enables users to easily navigate and perform seamless transactions. The design interface and user experience make it a great option for anyone looking for a perfect digital bank.

    With the rise of technology, everything is possible with just a few clicks on the mobile phone. In the next version, we expect to see a voice-activated virtual assistant feature on the app.

    The new V bank 3.0 app comes with innovative and sophisticated digital banking features which will help V bank users manage their money effectively, spend wisely and perform transactions easily with guaranteed security.

    VBank 3.0 is available as V by VFD on the Play Store and Apple store. For more information, visit vbank.ng

    Continue Reading

    Business

    CBN includes sugar, wheat on FX restriction list

    The CBN is set to include sugar and wheat in the forex restriction list.

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    on

    CBN forex restrictions on food itemsCBN approves new cheque standard for banks

    The Central Bank of Nigeria has announced plans to place sugar and wheat on its FX restriction list.

    The plan was disclosed by the apex bank via its verified Twitter handle in a statement credited to the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele.

    The tweet stated: “Sugar and Wheat to go into our FX restriction list. We must work together to produce these items in Nigeria rather than import them. #Emefiele.”

    It would be recalled that over the years, the CBN has been reviewing its list of restricted food items to include more items, with the most recent being the addition of maize, a widely-consumed staple food in the country.

    What you should know

    • The CBN governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, had earlier (on Thursday) given this hint while on an inspection visit to the proposed $500 million sugar processing facility in Nasarawa state, belonging to Dangote Sugar.
    • In 2015, the CBN listed 41 items that had been placed on its FX restriction list citing that the move was necessary to conserve the nation’s foreign reserve and boost local production of the items on the restriction list.
    • Some of the items which made the 2015 list are margarine, poultry and eggs, rice, and cement.
    • In 2020, the apex bank included maize in its FX restriction list as it directed all authorised dealers to immediately discontinue the processing of Forms M for maize/corn importation into the country.
    • Nairametrics had also earlier explained in its publication following the new policy shift, that the government’s premise for deciding to restrict FOREX on food is faulty, especially since Nigeria has not attained full food security and the agricultural sector is still struggling.

    Continue Reading

      





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