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No Clampdown on Uber Drivers—Lagos

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Uber drivers

By Dipo Olowookere

Say VIS Only Conducting Random Vehicle Checks

Operators of the popular car-hailing firm, Uber, have been warned by the Lagos State government to stop using blackmail to draw public sympathy.

In a statement issued on Monday, the state government said it was totally false for the operators to claim that officials of the Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS) were disturbing its drivers, causing them various economic losses.

According to the statement, the VIS officials are only performing their statutory duty of facilitating compliance with the road traffic laws by ensuring motorists possess the stipulated vehicle documents, such as roadworthiness, vehicle licence, drivers licence, insurance certificate, hackney permit and the Lagos State Drivers Institute (LASDRI) card for all categories of commercial commuter vehicles.

The state government said the allegation by Uber operators, especially on the social media, that the sum of N110,000 was demanded from their drivers as operational licence fees was “totally untrue, unsubstantiated, unreasonable and a ploy to win public sympathy.”

It said Uber operators were merely out to make mischief as they would not tell the public that their members whose vehicles were apprehended contravened one law or the other.

“No operator has a right to drive around without a driver’s licence. When such an erring operator who plies Lagos roads with expired vehicle particulars is exposed by the Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) machines and his vehicle is impounded, he does not need to resort to blackmail or seek public sympathy,” the statement said.

The state government said it challenges any operator with such evidence to bring it to the public domain for proof, saying in the last three weeks, VIS officials have apprehended close to 1,000 vehicles for various offences, ranging from non-possession of valid drivers’ licence to driving with expired vehicle particulars, adding that on 20 Uber vehicles were among those impounded.

The Lagos State government advised commercial vehicles with valid documents to go about their normal operations without any fear.

“Those with incomplete or expired documentation should validate their papers as the government will continue to apprehend all violators of the law,” it emphasised.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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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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Nigeria’s Zeetin Seals Deal to Export Vehicle Parts, Heavy-Duty Metals

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Zeetin Engineering Limited

By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel

An innovative and precision engineering company based in Nigeria, Zeetin Engineering Limited, is set to begin the exportation of heavy-duty metal products and other automotive spare parts to international markets.

This is coming as the pioneer firm signed an export Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a Turkish-American company, JMT Auto Limited, in Abuja recently to export Zeetin products to African and other foreign countries.

Being an international machine-making company and supplier of machines across the world, JMT is one of the largest auto component manufacturers in the Eastern region and has significant expertise in the auto sector.

The partnership will enable Zeetin to explore JMT’s network of customers to sell its products across Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia, covering Cameroun, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Ghana, Morocco, and India markets.

Also, JMT will supply sensitive spare parts for automotive products, machines, electrical and electronic parts to the Nigerian firm as its technical partner.

Commenting on the deal, the Managing Director of Zeetin, Mr Azibaola Robert, highlighted the significance of the MoU to the country’s economy as it marks the first time a Nigerian firm will begin the exportation of heavy-duty metal products, spares offshore.

He said, “In addition, this collaborative effort between us and JMT will catalyze Nigeria to a net technology exporting country and also save the country valuable foreign exchange. It will boost our economy, create more jobs as well. So, overall, Nigeria will be the ultimate beneficiary.”

Commenting on the agreement, the Chairman of JMT, Mr Serhan Yazicilar, expressed optimism that the deal would bring about growth in the engineering and technology industry, especially in Nigeria, as well accelerate the company’s business relationship with Zeetin Engineering.

Zeetin is a Nigerian precision engineering company that specializes in the manufacturing of heavy-duty metal products, car engines, and spare parts used in the aviation, construction, railway, marine, oil and gas, automotive, and agriculture industries.

It has its factory in the Idu Industrial Area of Abuja with lots of metalworking machines, Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines, including metal milling and lathe machines.

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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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