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Autochek Acquires Cheki Kenya, Uganda

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Cheki Kenya

By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel

Nigerian automotive technology company, Autochek, as part of its East African expansion drive, has acquired Cheki businesses in Kenya and Uganda from Ringier One Africa Media (ROAM) for an undisclosed amount.

This is coming after the ride-hailing company acquired Cheki in Nigeria and Ghana about a year ago.

Launched in 2010, Cheki is a virtual location where car sellers and buyers meet. It is a platform that offers a trusted, reliable, and cost-effective online marketplace for a wide range of quality vehicles. The startup, headquartered in Lagos, expanded operations to Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Cheki was acquired by ROAM in 2017 and became one of the listed online marketplaces and classifieds in its network like Jobberman.

The current acquisition marks Autochek’s achievement in the complete expansion of business from West Africa to the eastern part of the continent, as it leaves Cheki having its branches left in Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Commenting on the development, the founder and CEO of Autochek, Mr Etop Ikpe, said the acquisition of the East-Africa leading online auto marketplace will expand the auto financing company in providing better access to quality and affordable vehicles to African consumers.

He said, “Autochek’s mandate is to accelerate the ability of African consumers to access better quality and affordable vehicles by providing access to financing, while also derisking the auto lending process for financial institutions.

“We are long-time admirers and collaborators of the Cheki brand; following today’s news, we intend to provide even more trust and transparency in East Africa’s automotive sector, leveraging the unique networks we are now joining together.”

Mr Ikpe further noted that “The acquisition of Cheki Kenya and Uganda is an important milestone for us, and we are excited to be working with ROAM Africa once again, building on their achievements over the past years.”

“ROAM Africa has an unrivalled track record of operating and scaling some of Sub-Saharan Africa’s most innovative classified marketplaces and we look forward to leveraging on this solid business foundation,” he further said.

On his part, the CEO of ROAM Africa, Mr Clemens Weitz, said that “Autochek is the one player in Africa with the best team and expertise to truly create a game-changing consumer experience,” and that the development is good news for everyone directly involved, but will ultimately be of benefit to African car buyers and sellers.

Reiterating ROAM’s achievement over the years, he further stated that, “For ROAM Africa, this deal is more than a very good transaction: It unleashes even more focus on the strategic playbook for our core businesses. We have a clear strategy that will further strengthen our leading marketplaces and invest in innovative product solutions.

“The opportunity is now bigger than ever since the pandemic has vastly accelerated digitization across the continent. In the last two years, our businesses recorded unprecedented growth. Thus, our commitment to connect Africans to opportunities remains strong.”

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How to Verify Your Number Plate, Change Lanes While Driving

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Verify Your Number Plate

By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel

It is no news that middle lane hogging is a big problem on the Nigerian highways as it has been one of the major reasons for gridlocks and fiddling motor clashes on roads.

Hence, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), the agency with the statutory responsibilities for road safety administration in the country, has taken to its social media platform to enlighten drivers on how to change lanes and merge while driving in line with the road safety rules.

The agency, on Monday, published a five-step guide on what vehicle operators and the driving public should rightly do when changing lanes and merging while driving in order not to violate the road safety rules.

Step 1: Turn on your turn signal.

Turn signals are the only way you can let other drivers know that you will be changing lanes. Using your blinker to signal your intent to change lanes, merge into traffic, and even turn into a parking spot can help keep you safe.

Step 2: Check your rear-view and side mirrors.

After activating your blinker, take a look into your rear-view and side mirror to ensure you have enough space to make the lane change. If there’s a car in the lane you are merging into, wait until you can see the entire vehicle (wheels included) and a few feet of pavement in front of it in your rear-view mirror.

At this point, if the other car is going at or below the same speed as you are, you should have enough room to change lanes.

It’s essential to keep an eye on the speed of the car you are trying to merge ahead of — if they are accelerating, you are better off letting them pass you before changing lanes (as the space for your car is quickly closing)

Step 3: Look over your shoulder to check your blind spot

Even after checking your mirrors, there’s a spot behind the car that you cannot see – and that spot could easily contain a car or motorcycle! Immediately after checking your mirrors, look over your right shoulder to ensure you do not miss anything.

Always remember when checking your mirrors and blind spot that it is easy to miss smaller objects, like cyclists, so keep your eyes peeled. Additionally, you can better avoid getting hit by not lingering in other drivers’ blind spots.

Step 4: Change lanes!

Once you have determined that it is safe to change lanes, it is time to go for it! Maintain your speed and glide into the lane smoothly.

Step 5: Turn your turn signal off.

Do not be that person driving down the highway with your turn signal blinking. As soon as you are in your desired lane, turn off your blinker.

How to Verify Your Number Plate 

The FRSC also gave direction on how car owners across the country could determine the authenticity of their car number plate.

In the post published on its social media platform, it directed concerned persons to visit https://nvis.frsc.gov.ng/VehicleManagement/VerifyPlateNo where they will enter their vehicle’s number plate.

After clicking the “verify” button in the space provided, information on the verification of the car will be displayed below the button.

It noted that the verification is only applicable to the number plates with this format ABC123AB, not AB123 ABC.

In the notice, the agency also noted that it has limited the information provided to only care names and dates of registration to prevent the general public from seeing the full details of the registration.

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Cost of Bus Transportation in Nigeria Rises 50% in One Year

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Cost of Bus Transportation

By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel

The average bus fare paid by commuters for journeys within cities across states of the federation increased by 50 per cent year-on-year to N430.58 per drop constant route in August 2021 from N286.99 in the same time of last year.

According to the latest report from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the cost of bus transportation also increased by 5 per cent month-on-month from N410.2 in July 2021.

A look at the price watch for individual states showed that residents of Zamfara and Bauchi States paid the highest average fare for bus Journey within cities during the review period at N670.3 and N635.1 per drop constant route respectively.

This was followed by Taraba State where commuters paid approximately N550.1 on average for bus transportation within cities in the state.

In contrast, Oyo State recorded the lowest average price during the reference period as people paid N220.5 to move by bus from one city to another within the inland state of southwestern Nigeria.

Behind this were Abia and Borno States where the average cost of the bus transport service stood at N239.4 and N297.2 respectively.

Similarly, the average fare paid by commuters for bus journeys from one city to another (intercity) also went up by 1.8 per cent month-on-month to N2,588.7 in August 2021 from N2,542.95.

According to the data,  the state with the highest bus journey fare intercity within the period was the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja where people paid N4,700.1 to travel to another city.

This was followed by Lagos and Sokoto where it recorded an average price as high as N3,600.0 and N3,450.2 respectively, while the lowest average cost was recorded in Bayelsa (N1,859.36), Bauchi (N1,900.60), and Akwa Ibom (N1,950.20) accordingly.

Air Transportation

According to the stats office, the average price paid by air passengers went up by a marginal 0.1 per cent month-on-month within the period to N36,805.41 for specified routes single journey in August from N36,793.24.

This also showed a 0.53 per cent year-on-year increase from N36,611.2 published for the same time last year.

The report showed that Rivers and Edo States recorded the highest average cost of air travel at N38,900 and N38,500 respectively, which was followed by the country’s largest economic hub, Lagos where it cost N38,200.

However, the lowest airfare was recorded in Akwa-Ibom at N33,100, Sokoto at N33,700, as well as and Gombe at N35,200 according to the order of listing.

Motorcycle Transportation

Observing the price watch for motorcycle transportation in the country, it the average fare paid by commuters per drop increased by 3.2 per cent month-on-month to N303.25 in August 2021 from N294.02.

On a year-on-year basis, it also went up by 54.2 per cent from N196.7 it cost last year.

In addition, commuters in Yobe who opted for motorcycle transportation within the period paid the highest average at N500.5 per drop. Behind this were Lagos and Taraba state where it cost N487.2 and N465.1 respectively.

However, it was paid for at the lowest in states like Adamawa at N107.1, Niger at N180.1, as well as, Katsina at N180.3 per drop.

Waterway Transportation

The average fare paid by people who travelled by water within the period under review similarly increased by 1.9 per cent month-on-month to N848.2 in August 2021 from N831.97, marking a 23.6 per cent year-on-year increase from N686.7.

The fare for waterway transport recorded the highest average in the southern part of the country, particularly in the oil-producing state, Delta at N2,550.5, followed by Bayelsa at N2,500.47, and Rivers at N2,300.1.

On the other hand, passengers paid the lowest waterway transport fare within the period in states such as Borno (N270.64), Kebbi (N360.11), and Taraba (N380.20).

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SCOA Gets N15.5bn Loan from Heritage Bank, Others to Supply Items to Julius Berger

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By Aduragbemi Omiyale

To aid the construction of 380km Abuja-Kaduna-Kano road and many others across the country by Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, SCOA Nigeria Plc received a credit facility worth N15.5 billion from eight local financial institutions to supply some items to the construction giant.

The lenders that financed the importation and supply of MAN Platform Trucks and equipment to Julius Berger for the projects were Heritage Bank, Zenith Bank, Wema Bank, UBA, Union Bank, Unity Bank, Coronation Merchant bank and Providus Bank.

Business Post gathered that out of the total amount, Heritage Bank availed SCOA an Advance Payment Guarantee (APG) of N4.64 billion for the projects.

The N15.5 billion covers 33 trucks and technological equipment. For the first phase, the company handed over 16 trucks to Julius Berger. The second phase of delivery will be executed next month.

At a ceremony to hand over the items to the firm, the MD/CEO of Heritage Bank, Mr Ifie Sekibo, stated that the support efforts through project financing in the various sectors of the economy were one of the platforms that underscore his bank’s resolve and readiness to make a mark in the financial sector as a major pivot of socio-economic transformation of the country.

The Regional Head, Lagos Mainland Zone of Heritage Bank, Mother Dan-Egwu, who represented Mr Sekibo at the event, said the bank partnered to support SCOA Nigeria Plc for its long and outstanding presence in the automobile market, by retaining the cutting edge in their line of business.

“For us at Heritage Bank, our core business philosophy as a timeless wealth partner to our customers is captured in our mission to create, transfer and preserve wealth,” the banker said.

Earlier in his address, the GMD/CEO of SCOA, Dr Massad Boulos, commended Heritage Bank and the other banks’ roles, as the transactions were made possible through their solid partnership.

“I will also thank Heritage bank, their Directors, MD; Unity Bank and other senior bankers official & the entire team of banks, they’ve worked closely together with us on this project, same with Providus Bank, they all have worked together tirelessly for the success of this project,” he said.

According to him, this partnership is like no other considering the parties involved especially SCOA Motors and Julius Berger in the official hand over of state of the art modern trucks for use on the road constructions’ equipment for the execution of the biggest and the most significant project in Nigeria; the Abuja/Kaduna/Kano expressway.

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