The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Lagos Bus Services Limited (LBSL), Mr Idowu Oguntona, has announced that the company commenced deployment of the long-awaited contactless payment card called Cowry Card from Monday, March 22, 2021.
The payment card was introduced by the Lagos Metropolitan Transport Authority (LAMATA) to ease the process of transportation payment and make daily commuting pleasurable and stress-free.
This disclosure was made in a press release issued by Oguntona, on Monday, March 22, 2021.
He said in appreciating the trust and support of the masses for its operations, the company has initiated a promotion that will reward customers with 20,000 Free Cowry Cards across its approved stations and routes.
Oguntona explained, “All you have to do is ‘Tap-In’ at the beginning of your journey and ‘Tap-Out’ when alighting from the bus. I will implore our teeming customers to visit our stations, register, get their cards and start using it immediately.’’
While noting that the new mode of payment is in tandem with what is operational in other smart cities, the Managing Director declared that the move is to ensure safe, fast and secured transportation across the metropolis.
Oguntona added that the use of a cowry card becomes necessary considering the population density of Lagos State which requires an effective transportation system.
He promised that LBSL will continuously provide a unique commuting experience to its teeming customers at affordable fares and appealed to Lagosians to take the advantage of the opportunity provided by the present administration to reduce traffic congestion in Lagos State in line with the T.H.E.M.E.S. agenda.
The Managing Director also encouraged Lagosians to imbibe the culture of using public bus transit to eliminate unnecessary traffic gridlock on roads as well as reduce stress and cost of maintaining their vehicles.
What this means
This is seen as part of an effort by the Lagos State Government to improve the transportation system across the state.
This will encourage more commuters to use the bus transport service so as to help reduce the number of private vehicles on Lagos road thereby traffic congestion across the state.
FG gives completion date for Apapa-Oshodi-Ojota-Oworonshoki road project
The government said the reconstruction/rehabilitation of the expressway will be completed within 9 to 10 months.
The Federal Government has given a timeline for the completion of the Apapa-Oshodi-Ojota-Oworonsoki expressway project.
The government said the reconstruction/rehabilitation of the expressway which was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2018, to resolve the Apapa traffic gridlock, will be completed within 9 to 10 months.
This disclosure was made by the Federal Controller of Works in Lagos, Mr Olukayode Popoola, during a joint inspection with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on Saturday, April 17, 2021.
He assured that section one of the project would be completed within 3 weeks and thereafter opened for use.
Popoola said that the rehabilitation works, which had been divided into four sections to ease port congestion and gridlock at the Apapa axis, have section one which spans from Liverpool Round through Creek Road to Beachland near Sunrise and is about 10 km, while section two is 8.4 km and spans from Beachland to Cele Bus Stop.
Briefing the press after the inspection that also had in attendance the NPA Managing Director, Hadiza Usman, and the Hitech Construction Company, the subcontractor handling the project on behalf of the Dangote Group, Popoola said that grey areas such as accessibility due to trucks infringing on construction zone and disagreements on the pace of construction had been resolved.
What the Federal Controller of Works in Lagos is saying
Popoola said that the inspection gave the NPA team the opportunity to see for themselves that the contractor had been working progressively.
He said, “And this section that we are is the end of section one which we have completed. We will complete the remaining portion within the next three weeks, especially the asphalt work.
So within that three weeks, the outstanding works will be completed fully and then the section one will be made available to the motorists.
We (FMW) also complained about the trucks that are infiltrating the road while we are working. We have told them (NPA) that we cannot allow trucks to flock onto the section where we are working because they will disturb the contractor.
So the trucks will now be monitored and controlled fully. Both the NPA security, the Nigerian Police, LASTMA and then the contractor’s representative will form a synergy to work out how they will be controlling the trucks that enter into the port road henceforth,’’ Popoola said.
He said the contractor is expected to move to site to start the construction works on section two of the project based on agreement adding that work on sections three and four had reached an advanced stage, with over 70% completion reached cumulatively.
Popoola said that the entire project would be completed and handed over within the next nine to 10 months, including section two which had just been awarded.
The NPA Managing Director said that agreements were reached on timelines for construction works in order not to disrupt port operations with resolutions that the contractor worked during the weekends and on public holidays to ease congestion.
She said it was resolved that a corridor would be opened for trucks movement in addition to palliative works on some roads and another inspection in three weeks on section one.
The contract was awarded to AG Dangote Construction Company Ltd at the cost of N73bn under the Tax Credit Scheme of the Federal Government.
What you should know
- It can be recalled that the Federal Government had earlier in the year said that the first phase of the Apapa-Oshodi-Ojota-Oworonshoki project, which has faced several delays, would be delivered in April 2021.
- The government said that sections one, three and four of the project which was awarded to AG Dangote Construction Company Ltd at the cost of N73bn under the Tax Credit Scheme of the Federal Government, were almost ready and would be completed in April.
- They had also said that section two of the project which spans from Beach Land bus stop area to Cele Bus Stop which was recently awarded would also be completed in December 2021.
USSD N42 billion debt: Telcos insist banks have to pay, seek CBN, NCC intervention
Telcos in Nigeria have called for the intervention of the CBN and NCC as they insist that banks have to pay the N42 billion debt for the USSD services.
Telecommunications companies have insisted that the banks have to pay the N42 billion debt for the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) and called for the intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) over the dispute.
This follows the accumulation of the debt to the mobile network operators over a period of about 1 year for services rendered to the deposit money banks.
According to a report from Punch, this was made known by the Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria, Gbenga Adebayo, who said that this has become a moral burden on the banks.
What the Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria is saying
Adebayo, in his statement, said, “The over N42bn debt remains outstanding and the banks have to pay the telcos. It has become a moral obligation because the banks used the services, debited their customer accounts and now not paying the telcos.
Who do they expect to pay and what were the deductions made from their customers for USSD services, which you and I were debited for?
What is the deduction meant to for? It’s a debt and the banks have to pay the operators. It’s a moral obligation.”
On the association’s next step should the banks refuse to pay, Adebayo stated that the CBN and NCC would have to intervene.
He said, “We are hoping the regulators, CBN and NCC, having intervened by preventing operators from disconnecting the USSD services, will resolve the lingering debt issues.
“They (banks) owe the operators and they will pay. Otherwise, where is the money deducted for USSD services from their customers? You and I know we were charged for USSD transactions; what is the deduction meant for?”
What you should know
- It can be recalled that telecommunication firms under the aegis of the Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), had threatened to withdraw their Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) services to financial institutions from March 15 due to the N42 billion accumulated debt.
- However, following the intervention of the CBN and NCC, the planned action was shelved with both parties (the telcos and the banks), going into a meeting with the Federal Government representatives.
- As a fallout of the meeting, the CBN and NCC announced the introduction of N6.98 per transaction as new charges for customers using the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) services with effect from March 16, 2021.
- Recently, the Chief Executive Officer, Access Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe, reportedly stated that Nigerian banks were not indebted to telecommunications firms for using telcos platforms to provide payment services.
- The statement made the President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, Ikechukwu Nnamani, ask CBN to call the banks to order as regards agreements reached on the settling of the N42bn.
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