The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has unveiled a new e-hailing taxi scheme to redefine road transportation in the state.
A partnership deal for the take-off the new scheme, known as “Lagos Ride”, was signed with CIG Motors Company Limited on Thursday. The scheme is to start with a pilot fleet of 1,000 units of brand new Sport Utility Vehicles.
Also at the ceremony held at the State House in Marina, Sanwo-Olu formally sealed a Joint Venture Agreement with the automobile company for the establishment of a Vehicle Assembly Plant in the state in the next 24 months. The plant that will be jointly-run is to produce different classes of brand new cars.
The establishment of the factory was part of the bilateral agreements reached by the state government and Chinese investors when the governor visited the Asian country in November, 2019.
IBILLE Holdings Limited, a state-owned corporation, will be driving the two investment agreements on behalf of the Lagos State Government.
Sanwo-Olu said the new ride-hailing taxi scheme, which is to fully take off in six months, is a social intervention programme initiated with an objective to create jobs and economic opportunities for residents of the state as part of his government’s T.H.E.M.E.S agenda.
Sanwo-Olu said: “I am elated to unveil the Lagos State Taxi Scheme, which is another innovative policy of this administration targeted at making life easier for Lagosians, improving mobility and creating a seamless multi-modal transportation system.
“A major attribute of a modern megacity is a world-class transportation system with inter-connected services and mobility choices for the citizens. The task of bequeathing a safe, efficient, quick, and modern public transportation system is a key thrust of our administration’s development agenda. We are guided by the need for an equitable transportation system with mobility choices for our people.”
Under the taxi scheme, Sanwo-Olu said the Cooperative Society in the Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment will give operators brand new SUVs for a period of four years, during which they will pay a monthly installment. At the end of the credit tenure, the operators will have the opportunity to fully own the cars.
The governor also said the establishment of the Vehicle Assembly Plant is in furtherance of his administration’s economic growth blueprint, adding that the Joint Venture Agreement will revive industrialisation, drive up skilled youth employment and create wealth, boost tourism, and encourage technology sharing, adaptation, and advancement.
“As we formally sign the Joint Venture Agreement for the establishment of Motor Assembly Plant, Lagosians should expect a roll-out of vehicles from this plant within the next 18 months. I urge other stakeholders and private investors to collaborate with us to sustain the scheme. We have the political and administrative will to ensure business survives in Lagos”, Sanwo-Olu said.
Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladehinde, said the e-hailing taxi scheme was initiated, following the approval of IBILE Holding Limited’s proposal in the August 31, 2020 State’s Executive Council meeting.
He said the Assembly Plant and the taxi scheme will boost socio-economic activities and support the development of ancillary enterprises in the transportation sector.
The Chairman of CIG Motors Company Limited, Diana Chen, pledged the full commitment of the automobile firm to the agreement.
Chen, who is also the Vice Chairman of China-Africa Business Council, said the automobile firm will sponsor 50 students for a two-year engineering training in a vocational school in China to strengthen its partnership with the Lagos Government.
She said: “My teams are ready to work with 100 percent effort to build GAC MOTORS in Nigeria in the highest level of a brand. This international Joint Venture Project will soon bloom up in the Chinese business communities both in Nigeria and China. I assure you that, we will use this partnership as a best example to introduce and promote a Greater Lagos where greater opportunities abound.”