By Dipo Olowookere
Tech giant, Google, has invested in SafeBoda to enable the company to scale its transportation-led app to offer new payment and financial services solutions for its expanding set of customers, passengers, drivers and merchants.
Google made the investment, the first in the series, through its Africa Investment Fund launched by the CEO of Google and Alphabet, Mr Sundar Pichai, at Google for Africa in October.
SafeBoda is a venture-backed firm with investors like GoVentures (GoJek), Allianz X, Unbound, Beenext and Justin Kan.
SafeBoda app was launched in 2017 to connect passengers to their community of safer and trusted drivers and has grown to serve over one million customers, expanding its transportation-led super app offering rides, parcel delivery, food and shop, payments, savings and other financial services.
The company plans to drive its growth in Uganda and Nigeria, which is why the investment from Google is regarded as timely.
“SafeBoda welcomes Google to their community and are excited to continue to drive innovation in informal transportation and payments in the boda boda (motorcycle taxi driver in East Africa) or okada (West Africa) industry.
“As a former boda driver in Kampala, I know that we are the lifeblood of Africa’s cities and we power economic development. SafeBoda is thrilled that leading global companies such as Google see the importance of backing start-ups working towards these goals,” one of the co-founders, Mr Ricky Rapa Thomson, said.
“I am thrilled about our first investment from the $50M Africa Investment Fund that we announced two months ago. This is part of our ongoing commitment to tech startups in Africa.
“I am of the firm belief that no one is better placed to solve Africa’s biggest problems than Africa’s young developers and entrepreneurs. We look forward to announcing subsequent investments in other startups,” Nitin Gajria, Managing Director for Google in Africa, added.
The Africa Investment Fund is part of a broader plan to invest $1 billion over 5 years to support digital transformation in Africa. Through this fund, Google will invest $50 million in startups and provide them with access to Google’s employees, network, and technologies to help them build impactful products for their communities.
Currently, Africa is home to 700,000 developers and venture capital funding for startups has decreased in 2020 compared to 2019, with a record $4 billion in equity funding raised in 2021, according to Partech Ventures Africa.
Digital startups in Africa are driving innovation in fast-growing sectors, including fintech, healthtech, media and entertainment, e-commerce, e-mobility, and e-logistics, contributing to Africa’s growing Internet gross domestic product (iGDP) — defined as the Internet’s contribution to the GDP.
Daily N800 Fee Covers Personal Income Taxes of Drivers, Others—LASG
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Lagos State Government has clarified that the newly introduced N800 daily Consolidated Informal Transport Sector Levy in the state was a structure put in place to reduce multiple taxes, dues and levies to all agents of state and local governments.
On Tuesday, the Commissioner for Finance, Mr Rabiu Olowo, at a ceremony in Alausa, officially unveiled the scheme along with other stakeholders. It was to harmonise dues collected by the government from commercial motorists at parks and garages across the state.
The commercial drivers were asked to pay a flat fee of N800 daily with effect from Tuesday, February 1, 2022, and it covers local government levy, fee for clearing waste from motor parks and personal income taxes of the drivers, with tax cards issued to them.
According to Mr Olowo, “The N800 is a single structured collection of the monies payable to all government agencies and parties who are directly or indirectly associated with the transport sector.
“What the government has done is to organise the collection and reduce the multiplicity of levies and all sorts of taxes, dues and monies due to government from the transport unions.
“Bus drivers will get tax cards, and the issue of arbitrary payments will be eradicated once they pay from the point of their loading each day.”
However, the Chairman of the Lagos State chapter of the National Union of Road Transport Workers Union (NURTW), Mr Musiliu Akinsanya, popularly known as MC Oluomo, emphasised that the daily N800 fee does not include the union’s normal statutory levy.
“The harmonised levy will not affect the national union ticket. What it is aimed at consolidating are all the levies collected by the government and it was the unions that approached the government to help us harmonise the payment of all the levies it has been collecting to prevent duplication of levies,” the transporter said.
The Special Adviser to Governor Sanwo-Olu on Transportation, Mr Toyin Fayinka, while also speaking at the event, said the development is the first approach towards a total restructuring of the transport sector.
According to him, all stakeholders were duly consulted before the final signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which is aimed at bringing sanity into motor parks in line with best practices globally.
Residents Gear up for Closure of Dopemu Road for Three Months
By Adedapo Adesanya
Residents of Agege, Dopemu, Egbeda and environs are gearing up for the closure of Dopemu Road in the Agege area of Lagos State for three months by the state government for repairs.
The state government had announced on Sunday via a statement by the Commissioner for Transportation, Mr Frederic Oladeinde, that the Babajide Sanwo-Olu Road would be closed from 10 p.m. on Friday, January 21 to enable the rehabilitation and upgrade of the facility.
According to the Commissioner, the repairs would be done in three phases, with the first phase to focus on the Ipaja Road up to the Adealu Street junction, which would last three months.
He stated that alternative routes have been mapped out by the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) to ensure effective control of vehicular movements along the axis, during the duration of the repairs.
Mr Oladeinde advised motorists inbound Dopemu Bridge from the Iyana Ipaja/Alagba axis to go through Ipaja Road to connect Oyewole Street into Seriki Street.
He said the movement would link them to Kolawole and Adebambo Streets, to access Adealu Road, to their desired destination.
“In the same vein, motorists heading toward Dopemu Bridge from Ipaja (Oke Koto) are to utilise Markaz Road to connect Awori Street and link Sarumi Alawo Street/Oniwaya and Surulere.
“With this, they will continue their journey or alternately, go through Alfa Nla from Old Ipaja Road, to connect Oniwaya/Surulere axis to reach the Dopemu Bridge.
“The alternative routes are in motorable conditions and will not pose any difficulty to motorists. We are also assuring that the LASTMA personnel will be at the diversion routes for efficient traffic management.
“I must commend Lagosians for their perseverance through the myriad of constructions going on across the state,” Mr Oladeinde said.
He then called for support from the residents, while assuring them that their sacrifice would yield the desired outcome for the state’s multi-modal transportation system.
OYRTMA Gets New Operational Commands in Ogbomosho
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
To further enhance the safety of road users in the state, the Oyo State Road Transport Management Authority (OYRTMA), has established a new operational command at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) and four other areas in Ogbomosho.
This development was confirmed by the Executive Chairman of OYRTMA, Dr Akin Fagbemi, during a working visit to the agency’s new commands in Ogbomosho on Tuesday.
He added that the new move will enhance administrative and operational effectiveness in the Ogbomosho zone, revealing that the agency now has more officers and men in the zone.
“We acknowledge the significance of Ogbomoso zone to the growth of the economy of Oyo State. Therefore, it is pertinent we do all within the ambit of the law to ensure free flow of traffic in the zone,” he said.
Mr Fagbemi said the mandate given to the agency by Governor Seyi Makinde is to operate effectively across the state and not just restrict its operations to a zone, thus the creation of the new commands in the Ogbomoso zone.
Meanwhile, the OYRTNA chief also used the occasion to pay a courtesy call to the Ogbomoso North Local Government Chairman, Mr Kabiru Akanji Adeoye.
The council boss expressed satisfaction to the agency for its timely intervention in issues pertaining to effective road traffic management, crash prevention, post-crash care and general road safety matters in the zone.
He emphasised that the total clampdown melted on ‘One-Way’ offenders by OYRTMA officials in the Zone has helped to significantly zero down cases of road crashes and saved the lives of numerous individuals.
“Before now, we only see and hear about OYRTMA’s activities in the State Capital, Ibadan but today, it is a great pleasure that the agency has not less than five specialised commands in Ogbomoso zone including the one newly created to ease traffic along LAUTECH and its environ,” he said.
Speaking further, he said: “Also, OYRTMA routine operations has helped us reduce crimes through the checking of Number plates and impounding vehicles, motorcycles etc without a fully registered number plate.”
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