From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
The Federal Government of Nigeria, Oyo State Government and Vasco Technology Solutions Limited, popularly known as Africar, on Thursday launched a low cost transportation system for masses in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, towards making lives more meaningful for residents of the city.
The official launch of the new ride-hailing service, with no fewer than 115 Bajaj Qute, a car that is assembled in Nigeria by Nigerians to support low cost and affordable transportation for the masses, was introduced to the Nigerian market by Africar, which is under a conglomerate known as Stallion Group, in partnership with National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), was held at Golden Tulip, Jericho. Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, who spoke on behalf of the Federal Government said President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration
appreciated the Stallion Group – a home-grown conglomerate, for adding values to the country ‘s economy for the past 52 years. He also commended the state governor, Seyi Makinde, for the welcoming environment that has been provided for Africar, and other businesses to thrive.
According to him, the Africar’s platform has the potential to transform the transportation industry in the state, providing both employment opportunities and low-cost rides. He added that the Federal Government is also working assiduously to revive the automobile sector of the economy, with a view to stimulating demand for locally assembled vehicles, through establishment of a vehicle finance scheme, and a guaranteed off-take mechanism.
Governor Makinde, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Segun Ogunwuyi, noted that the fact that Africar chose Ibadan as its first base in the ride-hailing service, is a testimonial to the business-friendly environment created by his administration for investors. The introduction of the service into Ibadan, he said, is in line with his administration’s goal to attract new investors into the state.
His words: “I am very delighted to be at the event of today which is a further demonstration of our administration’s commitment to making life comfortable for our people and thereby improving the socio-economic activities of the citizenry and the state at large.
“The state has witnessed and as a matter of fact still witnessing a tremendous growth in the transport sector since the inception of this administration in the areas of transport Infrastructures and procurement of vehicles for mass transit.”
Makinde noted that his administration has purchased 109 long buses for mass transportation, known as ‘Omituntun Bus Mass Transit’, apart from constructing four bus terminals at Iwo Road, Challenge, and Ojoo to ease commuting in the state capital.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Africar, Mr. Sahil Vaswani, said all the cars being used for the project were assembled at Stallion Group’s Von Plant in Lagos. He added that the company and NADDC developed the Bajaj Qute cars purposely for the new ride hailing taxi for Nigeria and would be taken to other states in the country, after Ibadan, saying: “This car is assembled in Nigeria by Nigerians and is environmentally friendly, with 50 per cent lower carbon emissions than the average car.”
The Commissioner for Transport and Public Works in the state, Prof Dahud Sangodoyin; Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Africar, Joe Mathews; Marketing Manager, Africar, Rosemary Ani; and representative of the Director-General, NADDC, Mr. Jelani Aliyu, were among dignitaries that witnessed the event.