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Metro Africa Xpress Secures $31m to Expand, Build Electric Vehicles

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MAX electric vehicles

By Adedapo Adesanya

Nigerian mobility tech startup Metro Africa Xpress Inc. (MAX) has secured $31 million in Series B funding that will spur its expansion into Ghana and Egypt by the end of the first quarter of 2022 as well as aid in its infrastructural development of electric vehicles.

The startup will also be looking at pushing further expansion into other additional markets in Francophone, East and Southern Africa by the close of the same year.

The latest funding round was led by the global private equity platform, Lightrock, which is making its first investment in the African mobility space.

Others included the UAE-based international venture capital firm, Global Ventures, as well as existing investors Novastar Ventures, and Proparco, the French development finance institution, through their Digital Africa initiative.

The new injection into the company will also be used to extend vehicle financing credit to over 100,000 drivers in the next two years.

Also part of its catalogue of services, MAX plans to build electric vehicle infrastructure in its new markets, with the intention of introducing electric vehicles (EVs) to its emerging clientele.

Speaking on the new development, the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of MAX, Mr Adetayo Bamiduri noted that, “It is another milestone in our journey to make mobility safe, affordable, accessible, and sustainable by deploying high-performance technologies and operators.

“The investment will enable us to transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of drivers across the continent, accelerate international expansion, and continue our pioneering initiatives in the mobility space.”

The company currently provides two, three and four-wheeler EVs to drivers through various leasing and financing options and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the company, Mr Bertrand Njoya explained that EVs are the next big thing and it was important that the company be at the forefront.

“It’s an additional option that we wanted to provide to the drivers because what they care most about is making a decent living through increased income. For us, electric mobility is going to be a significant driver of that objective because EVs are today more cost-effective than their gas equivalents,” Mr Njoya said.

According to the CFO, MAX currently designs and assembles its own line of electric motorcycles working with partners across the ecosystem, including Yamaha, a leading motorcycle manufacturer, to deliver their EVs.

“We work with Yamaha in the area of access to vehicles for the drivers, and in the access to finance. As a testament of the success of our work and partnership, Yamaha today has set up a dedicated driver vehicle financing entity for Africa against the backdrop of the work that we’ve been doing with them over the past couple of years,” said Mr Njoya.

MAX started out in 2015 as a delivery startup using motorcycles to fulfil customer orders before venturing into ride-hailing, and later into vehicle subscription and financing services – solutions it came up with based on the data from its first services.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Daily N800 Fee Covers Personal Income Taxes of Drivers, Others—LASG

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Daily N800 Fee

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.

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Residents Gear up for Closure of Dopemu Road for Three Months

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Closure of Dopemu Road

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.

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OYRTMA Gets New Operational Commands in Ogbomosho

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OYRTMA Fagbemi 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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