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Nigeria’s Plentywaka Raises $1.2m, Acquires Ghana’s Stabus

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Stabus Plentywaka

By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel

Nigerian bus hailing startup, Plentywaka, has secured $1.2 million in a seed round to expand its current reach as the provider of a better and safer transportation system for daily commuters in Lagos and Nigeria at large.

The round was led by Canadian Venture Capitalist, The Xchange. Other investors engaged in the seed round were SOSV and Shock Ventures, a follow-on investment from Techstars Toronto and angel investors from Canada, the United States, and several African countries.

It was not restricted to foreign investors as some Nigerian firms also took part in the seed round including Argentil Capital Partners, a boutique investment banking firm, as well as ODBA & Co Ventures.

In addition, the mobility startup also acquired the Ghanaian mobility platform, Stabus, to expand its services to Nigeria’s West African neighbour, Ghana.

This means that the Ghanian-based platform will now become Plentywaka Ghana, while its co-founder, Isidore Kpotufe, has been appointed as the new Country Manager of Plentywaka Ghana.

The development is coming after Stabus’ goal aligns with Plentywaka’s desire to scale up its operations and build a common goal, rather than competing.

Stabus was launched in 2019 and is said to have over 100,000 customers in its database in Accra, Ghana of which MTN Ghana and GB Foods are among its clientele.

The acquisition will see the teaming up of Stabus’ current workers with Plentywaka to help achieve the goal of providing safe and affordable transportation services as its services across Ghana will kick off on Thursday, September 16, 2021.

The acquisition, coupled with the fresh funds raised from its seed round, is considered as one of the strides made by the bus-hailing startup since its inception.

Recall that Business Post had reported two months ago that Plentywaka partnered with a leading interstate transport company, GUO, to expand both companies’ travel offerings.

The partnership saw GUO enabled its ticket booking on the Plentywaka app, therefore, joining its interstate travel network, Travelwaka. It also saw the on-boarding of 600 new buses from GUO onto its platform, leading to the opening up of new routes on the Travelwaka platform.

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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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heritage-bank.jpg

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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