Necessity they say is the mother of invention. This axiom further gives credence to the latest solution that may resolve the perennial congestion being experienced within the Apapa corridor.
The traffic challenge which seems to have defied all solutions has lead to the closure of many businesses, leaving a large number of youths unemployed while many others have summoned up courage to take other forms of dehumanizing businesses in order to eke a living.
Daily, Lagosians, especially those that have their businesses within the Apapa corridor have had to contend with dangers on the road, and in the process many have met their untimely death as a result of the uncoordinated approach with which tanker drivers and other articulated vehicles comport themselves.
Several orders issued by regulatory agencies including the Police, Navy, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Lagos State Transport Management Authority (LASTMA), Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) have failed to yield the desired result as the activities of articulated vehicles have become an albatross to the citizens.
But recently an indigenous firm-Axiom Tech Limited, unveiled an information technology solution-petroapp, which will see the congestion disappear anytime soon.
What petroapp seeks to achieve
At the launch of the IT solution in Lagos last week, Managing Director of Axiom Tech Limited, Mr. Andre Bassey, explained that PetroApp is a mobile app designed to monitor activities in the entire downstream petroleum sector to actively engage marketers.
He disclosed that PetroApp was built from the ground up using African ingenuity combined with technological innovation which will aid decision making seamless for traders and marketers, adding that the solution also seeks to integrate the Nigerian downstream petroleum sector while helping depots and trucks to work strictly by schedule.
According to him, PetroApp has been designed as a “one stop shop” to be an information and communication bridge to inform constructive decisions.
Its features include; Information on product availability from all major petrol depots in Nigeria, prices on the go and maximise profit, trucks/ tanker information for hire and delivery, price forecast, petro news, knowledge center and a feedback mechanism.
Stakeholders’ benefit/ reactions
To generate a raw database of daily ground marketers around Nigeria’s depots, PetroApp can also aid in disseminating general information.
Bassey disclosed that, because the PetroApp is 100 percent locally built from ground up, stakeholders will be perceived as a great supporter of home grown technology within and without Nigeria.
According to research results from Statcounter, Nigeria is the most mobilized country in the world
ahead of India and South Africa with 76 percent of internet traffic coming from mobile. This appears to be a major benefit for stakeholders and active participants in the downstream sector.
Co-founder, PetroApp, Mr. Yomi Ademefun, stated that PetroApp helps to increase the customer base of marketers, reduce overhead and turnaround time.
He maintained that a lot of trucks don’t have business lurking around the Apapa corridor because sometimes the depot they had planned to get products from may have exhausted same, thereby wasting man-hour and resources.
‘‘This challenge could be avoided when a marketer checks his PetroApp from the comfort of his home to ascertain the depots with products. After checking and confirming prices, the logistics manager can now deploy the trucks in preparation for loading of products.
In the process of carrying out these checks, marketers are helping in no small way to decongest the Apapa corridor because once you ascertain that products are not available in Apapa, and then you don’t have to be there. You can move to other depots to get your products at even cheaper prices,’’ he said.
Going forward, Bassey said the platform will have a payment platform where funds can be credited into the account of the depot while the truck just moves in to load the product, thereby reducing the attendant risk of moving around with cash and also saves time that could have been spent in the banks.
‘‘At the moment, we are talking with payment platforms that can key into the vision of what we are doing so that the App becomes a one stop shop for the downstream sector,’’ he said.
DPR, others react
Mrs.Temisan Olatunde, who represented the Assistant Director of Information Communication Technology (ICT), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), said the agency was ready to provide all the needed support to ensure that PetroApp becomes a success.
She said most of the activities of DPR have been digitalised and are online from import permit registration to oil lease renewal, adding that anyting that would add value to downstream operation and make same seamless will be given the needed support.
She charged the promoters of the IT solution not to rest on their oars but ensure that they come up with more advanced and improved form of technology in order to move the downstream sector to the next level.
For his part, Coordinator, Safe to Work Programme, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Lagos State Command, Mr. Olaseinde Egboitan, said the launch of the application would go a long way in complementing the efforts of the FRSC within the Apapa corridor.