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News Roundup: Lagos rolls new e-taxi operation guidelines

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These are the biggest stories that were discussed in BusinessDay’s newsroom from Monday, 10th August to Friday, 14th August.

The UK economy tanked more than any major European economy in the second quarter, shrinking by a fifth and falling into its deepest recession on record. The second-quarter plunge is the worst on record and follows a 2.2% contraction in the first quarter. Two consecutive periods of contraction mean the British economy is now in a technical recession.

The figures confirm that the pandemic has hit the UK harder than other developed economies. Analysts said the UK’s underperformance was largely because of the length of its lockdown, although also because the consumer-facing services sector that was hardest hit by social distancing has a bigger weight in GDP, accounting for 80 percent of the economy.

In other economies, France GDP contracted by 13.8percent, Italy 12.4percent, Germany 10.1percent, Canada 12percent, the U.S. 9.5percent and Japan 7.6percent

Standard Chartered Bank and Airtel Africa have announced a strategic collaboration to drive financial inclusion across key markets in Africa by providing customers with increased access to mobile financial services. Through the collaboration, Standard Chartered, and Airtel Africa will work together to co-create new, innovative products aimed at enhancing the accessibility of financial services and, ultimately, better serve people across Africa. In line with this, Airtel Money’s customers will be able to make real-time online deposits and withdrawals from Standard Chartered bank accounts receive international money transfers directly to their wallets, and access savings products amongst other services.

Standard Chartered’s corporate clients will also be able to make rapid and secure bulk disbursements, such as payroll payments, directly into the Airtel Money customers wallet. This reduces the risks associated with traveling long distances for cash payments and instead customers can go to any Airtel Money agent, kiosk, or branch to cash-out their funds.

Commenting on the collaboration, Sunil Kaushal, Regional CEO, Africa, and Middle East said: “By collaborating with innovative organisations like Airtel Africa, we are accelerating our mobile and digital-led strategy to provide best in class financial services to Africa. Over the past year, Standard Chartered has rapidly launched digital banks across 9 countries on the continent, allowing our customers to enjoy seamless services from the safety of their homes even during the peak of the pandemic. This partnership will further enhance the ability of our customers to manage and move money safely and securely and create market-leading financial solutions across countries.”

Lagos State Government through the Ministry of Transportation has rolled out new e-taxi operation guidelines. The new guideline established among other things, Taxi system model, Regulations on e-Taxi operations, Penalties for non-compliance among others

Under new regulations, that fee now stands at ₦10 million ($25,814) for every 1,000 e-hailing taxis. There’s also an annual renewal fee of ₦5 million ($12,907).

 “All operators of e-hailing taxi service must pay the state government 10% service tax on each transaction paid by passengers to the operators.” 

The provision means that the Lagos state government will collect taxes, licencing fees, and a percentage from every trip completed on these platforms. While operators kick against this provision, if it goes ahead to be implemented on August 20, the real losers will be the customers. Uber and Bolt will pass this 10% cost along to end-users, making cab fares more expensive.

The management of Bua Group has donated three ambulances to the Delta State government as a support to the state’s effort at curtailing coronavirus. 

Presenting the gift to the state governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, head of corporate communications of the company, Otega Ogre, noted that Okowa’s administration has done a lot in the fight against COVID-19 adding that the ambulances were Bua Group’s contributions to assist the state in the fight against the global pandemic.

Okowa in his remark called for collective efforts to check the spread of COVID-19 in the state and the country stressing that defeating COVID-19 would not be an impossible task if all Nigerians obeyed set health protocols with commitment.

Stephanie Busari, head of CNN Nigeria Bureau, has been selected as the only Nigerian in the Class of 2020 for the annual Yale’s World Fellow Program. Yale announced the 13 individuals chosen in its class of 2020 World Fellows program, a global leadership development program at the university.

Busari reports on-air for CNN International and led the network’s 2019 Nigeria presidential election coverage. She also oversees CNN Africa’s digital editorial and operational strategy, crafting a new narrative for Africa and chronicling the continent’s changemakers and innovators.

President Muhammadu Buhari has assented to the Companies and Allied Matters Bill, 2020 recently passed by the National Assembly, which reforms the 30-year existing laws. The Act now makes it compulsory for the disclosure of persons with significant control of companies in a register of beneficial owners to enhance corporate accountability and transparency; unlike the hitherto situations where promoters were unknown.

The President’s assent on the legislation repealed and replaced the extant Companies and Allied Matters Act, 1990, after 30 years, introducing several corporate legal innovations geared toward enhancing the ease of doing business in the country.

 The innovations include amongst other things, enabling the reduction in filing fees and other reforms to make it easier and cheaper for small and medium-sized enterprises to register and reform their businesses in Nigeria;

 The new law also allows corporate promoters of companies to establish private companies with a single member or shareholder and creating limited liability partnerships and limited partnerships to give investors and business people alternative forms of carrying out their business in an efficient and flexible way