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TruQ’s Performance in 10 Months Impresses Founders

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TruQ

By Adedapo Adesanya

Nigerian startup, truQ, an on-demand logistics platform that leverages technology to connect anyone who needs to move anything with the closest available vehicle, has lauded its strong performance within 10 months of operations.

truQ allows users to choose between different sizes of vehicles ranging from minivans to big trucks, connects them to the closest available driver in minutes, and provides real-time tracking.

Founded in February by Williams Fatayo, Foluso Ojo and Isaac Chikutukutu, the company was borne out of frustrating experiences in moving large items in Lagos.

“We witnessed first hand the challenges that people go through when they want to move heavy items ranging from furniture to electronics and others,” Mr Ojo said.

“These challenges were mostly a user’s inaccessibility to drivers and drivers’ inaccessibility to people who need them, irregular and exorbitant pricing, and unreliable systems, just to mention a few,” he added.

truQ is attempting to address these issues, and having been bootstrapped since launch, in October it bagged $50,000 in funding from the Growth Lab accelerator run by V8 Capital Partners.

Speaking on the uptake and its result, Mr Ojo said, “We have seen the wide acceptance of our platform. At the moment, we have over 70 drivers on our platform and stores who are dependent on us to service their logistics needs,” adding that truQ had so far made over 300 trips.

Headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, truQ is out to redefine how movement and deliveries are experienced in Africa.

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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Easter: FRSC Cautions Motorists Against Reckless Driving

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FRSC Reckless Driving

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Idiroko Unit Command of Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in Ogun has cautioned motorists against drunk driving and reckless driving to avert mishaps during Easter celebration.

The warning came from Mr Akinwunmi Olaluwoye, the Idiroko Unit Commander of FRSC on Tuesday in Ota, Ogun.

The Christian Easter holidays will cover Good Friday from April 2 through Easter Monday on April 5, 2021.

Mr Olaluwoye said the warning had become necessary as drunk and reckless driving had contributed to some of the road crashes that have claimed many lives in the state.

The unit Commander admonished motorists against drunk driving during Easter celebration as breathalyzer had been provided for the personnel of corps who would be on the highways to test drivers.

“The FRSC would like to sound a note of warning to drivers who are fond of taken alcohol while driving because anyone caught will face the wrath of the law.

“We are not going to fold our hands and allow motorists to embark on a nefarious act that could endanger other road users or lead to unnecessary loss of lives.

“The FRSC will do everything possible within its powers during the Easter to ensure that people get to their various destinations safely,” he said.

Mr Olaluwoye said the personnel would be on the highways to monitor and control traffic to ensure sanity as well as check the excesses of motorists.

The unit commander, however, cautioned against wrongful overtaking and to refrain from flouting traffic rules and regulations in order to stem crashes during the Easter celebration.

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Lagos Restricts Vehicular Movement in Surulere Ahead of Super Eagles Match

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Lagos State

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Lagos State Government will today restrict vehicular movement for the live football match between the Super Eagles and Lesotho.

This was announced on Monday via a statement by the Commissioner for Transportation, Mr Frederic Oladeinde, adding that the closure was necessary to effectively manage traffic better and tighten security at the stadium.

He assured that provisions have been made to manage traffic along the axis for the 12-hour period.

“In line with this development, motorists are advised to avoid moving around the stadium from 10.00 am. Traffic approaching Teslim Balogun from Ojuelegba and Alaka/Eric Moore can only pass through the flyover,” the statement partly read.

According to the Commissioner, only vehicles with VVIP stickers or tickets would be allowed to approach the stadium and park with vehicles conveying persons with VVIP tickets permitted to drive into the Teslim Balogun Stadium.

Mr Oladeinde appealed to motorists that use the corridor frequently to cooperate with the Lagos Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) officials that will be deployed to manage the traffic flow as it will ease movement and minimize expected inconveniences.

Road to AFCON Cameroon 2022

The Super Eagles had qualified for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations on Saturday after Lesotho and Sierra Leone drew 0-0 in Group L.

The team had earlier defeated the Squirrels of Benin Republic 1-0 that same day. Nigeria had to wait until the 93rd minute to score on Saturday after Paul Onauchu came off the bench to nod in the match-winning goal in Porto-Novo.

The standing has Nigeria on top with 11 points, Benin with seven, Sierra Leone with four and Lesotho with three. The countries finishing first and second qualify for the 24-team tournament in Cameroon next January.

Benin needed just one point from the match against Nigeria to also secure a place at the finals of the premier African national team competition but will have to wait for their game against Sierra Leone to confirm this.

Nigeria travelled by sea to its West African neighbours on Friday after players raised concerns about the poor road network linking the countries.

Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Comoros, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia and Zimbabwe have qualified, leaving seven places to be filled.

Nigeria will be playing in Lagos today just to fulfil all righteousness.

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Hyundai to Suspend Production in South Korea

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Hyundai Car Plant Nigeria

By Ahmed Rahma

A South Korean multinational automotive manufacturer, Hyundai Motor Company, said it plans to temporarily suspend production at its Ulsan number one plant in South Korea.

As reported on Monday by Korea Economic Daily, the suspension, which is starting from April 5 to April 13, is due to a shortage of chip.

The affected Ulsan factory, according to the report, produces 311,000 vehicles annually, including the Kona Electric and Ioniq 5.

“No decision has been made on the reported temporary suspension of the facility,” Hyundai headquartered in Seoul said in a statement to Reuters.

The Korea Economic Daily said the production at Hyundai’s Ulsan number one plant is being suspended due to supply issues regarding chips and power electric modules.

Underscoring the severity of the chip shortage crisis, Hyundai, until recently one of the automakers least affected due to prudent stockpiling, has become the latest automaker to halt manufacturing due to the chip shortage.

It was reported last month that Hyundai had been able to avoid a hit from the shortage so far largely because it maintained a stockpile of chips, unlike its global peers.

Last week, Honda Motor and General Motors both announced that they would continue production suspension at plants in North America for the coming weeks, citing the chip shortage as one of several reasons.

A confluence of factors including factory shutdowns, booming demand for laptops and tablets, and sanctions against Chinese tech companies caused a global shortage of chips to rattle the electronics sector in December.

Originally concentrated in the auto industry, the shortage has widened to affect a range of consumer electronics, including smartphones.

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FG Begins Bidding Process to Concession 12 Highways

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Concession 12 Roads

By Adedapo Adesanya

The commencement of the concessionaire of 12 federal roads under the federal government’s Highway Management Development Initiative (HMDI) will commence on Monday, March 29.

Accordingly, the Ministry of Works and Housing has launched an e-portal commencing the bidding process for the 12 highways slated for concession.

The affected roads the Kano-Shuari, Potiskum-Damaturu, Lokoja-Benin, Enugu-Port Harcourt, Ilorin-Jebba, Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta, Lagos-Badagry-Seme Border, Benin-Asaba, Abuja-Lokoja, Kano-Katsina, Onitsha-Owerri, Shagamu-Benin and Abuja-Keffi-Akwanga.

The Minister of Works and Housing Minister, Mr Babatunde Fashola, stated that the e-portal was launched in order to ensure competitiveness and guarantee transparency and would serve as the interface with the public in the management of the HDMI from procurement to implementation.

He said: “Let me repeat that all our transactions will be done through this portal and we will not entertain any personal inquiries to me or to any of our staff who have correspondingly been mandated not to entertain such requests.”

He said that the portal: https://hdmi.worksandhousing.gov.ng/) would be opened for operation from Monday and called on those who have written for enquires to make use of it.

“The day is now upon us, the venue is fixed and I have the pleasure to announce that the HDMI portal will open on Monday, March 29, 2021,” he said.

Continuing, he explained that the portal would be open for all HDMI related functions and most importantly, the Request for Qualification (RFQ) application for the Value Added Concession (VAC) which would be officially advertised on the same day.

He said the process was expected to be a vibrant process and successful that would unleash the commercial opportunities on Nigerian highways from paved roads, to clean and well-maintained highways, proper signage and route assurance signs, rest houses and commuter support for emergencies like vehicle towing and repairs.

“Please visit the portal and I wish you all a very interactive and rewarding experience,” he said.

On infrastructure development of the nation, Mr Fashola said one of the early initiatives of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration was to improve the ease of doing business and it is no secret that infrastructure was going to be an important driver of this initiative.

At present, the government is executing over 700 different contracts which aggregate to the rehabilitation and reconstruction of over 13,000 km of roads and bridges across all the 36 states including the Federal Capital Territory.

He said: “As a result of the size of the undertaking, there is an increasing and unsatisfied demand for funding to finance these projects to completion and to maintain them.”

On his part, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr Babangida Hussaini stated that the Ministerial notice on the commencement of the HDMI signalled the commencement of the procurement process for the concession of the twelve pilot broad corridors under the scheme.

Explaining the objectives, the Permanent Secretary stated that the initiative would leverage private sector investment to improve facilities and operations on the selected routes, maximize the revenue-generating potential of the routes and ensure international best practices in the development and management of the nation’s highways.

He said: “This pilot project is expected to attract a lot of investment to the country, create jobs for our teeming youths and make travelling on our highways more desirable.”

In his opening statement, the acting Director-General of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Mr Micheal Ohiani said that ICRC as a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) regulatory commission would ensure a level playing ground for all interested players.

He, therefore, called on all interested investor both local and foreign to participate in the bidding processes as it would be fair to all bidders.

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Tesla Adopts Bitcoin as Payment Method for Cars

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Tesla

By Ahmed Rahma

After purchasing $1.2 billion worth of the world’s largest electronic currency, Bitcoin, Tesla has said it will start accepting the cryptocurrency as means of payment for its electric cars.

The Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mr Elon Musk, made this disclosure via a Twitter post on Wednesday.

“You can now buy a Tesla with Bitcoin” he tweeted, noting that this payment option is only available to customers in the United States for now, with plans to include others later.

He added that Tesla will only use internal and open-source software and that any Bitcoin paid to the company will be retained as Bitcoin and not converted to a fiat currency.

Recall that the California-based Tesla disclosed its $1.5 billion investment in Bitcoin in February, signalling its intent to begin accepting the cryptocurrency as a form of payment at the time, sending prices to a record high.

The world’s leading EV maker made the Bitcoin bet after updating its investment policy in January to allow it to buy digital assets.

Bitcoin rose 3 per cent to $56,108 as of 8:33am in London.

In addition to lending increased legitimacy to electronic currencies, Mr Musk’s embrace of Bitcoin fits his maverick image.

The billionaire has often tweeted about cryptocurrency-related topics and recently called Bitcoin “a good thing” in an interview.

Dogecoin, the once tongue-in-cheek digital currency, also soared to records in February after Musk, rapper Snoop Dogg and Kiss bassist Gene Simmons tweeted about it.

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Apapa Gridlock: NPA Suspends Export Receipts at Lagos Ports

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Export Receipts

By Ahmed Rahma

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has suspended export receipts at the Lagos Ports Complex and the Tin Can Island Port in order to improve access into the ports and enhance service delivery.

In a statement issued by the authority on Monday, it was stated that the suspension became effective from today and will last for 14 days.

“As part of efforts to improve access into, and service delivery at the Lagos Ports Complex and the Tin Can Island Port, the authority hereby announces a 14-day (two weeks) suspension of export receipts at both ports and all satellite truck parks, with effect from Monday, 22/03/21,” a part of the statement read.

“This development is necessitated by the need for consultations with export cargo stakeholders and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) on the harmonisation of procedures required of owners of this category of cargo,” it explained.

“Stakeholders should please note that this suspension does not affect export refrigerated cargo and trucks whose operators have secured call up tickets as of Friday, March 19, 2021,” the agency stressed.

“All other segments of port users are enjoined to continue carrying on their businesses by using the designated truck parks and booking for access into the ports on the Eto platform,” it advised.

“The authority thanks all stakeholders for their support towards the success of Eto since its introduction three weeks ago and seeks continued support in the determination to end truck congestion on access roads into the ports and improve service delivery,” the statement further said.

The Managing Director of the NPA, Ms Hadiza Bala Usman, who spoke on  95.3 FM on Monday, also gave reasons for the decision.

She said, “We have a backlog of over 600 trucks that have approached the port coming out of their truck parks and are currently in that location within the port corridors, within the Lilypond. So, we are suspending all export cargoes.”

Ms Usman explained that many exporters who approach the ports without proper documentation contribute to the gridlock witnessed.

“This has been a challenge for us, the documentation, in terms of readiness of the terminal operators to receive them, some of the certifications they require from supervisory agencies based on the type of exports that they carry,” she said.

“They also have several custom certifications and CBN documents that they need to complete.

“Recognising that as a problem, we have invited the export promotion council to join us this week to meet with the large exporters to make them understand the procedures as it relates to documentation.

“If any of your documents are not ready, you must remain within your location. Actually, you shouldn’t even start your journey to the ports,” the Kaduna-born politician noted.

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