Associate drivers under the National Union of Professional App-based Workers (NUPA-BW) among others described the government’s initiative to give N30,000 to commercial transporters as a ‘wasteful effort.’
The Nigerian Government recently disclosed its plan to give commercial transporters a grant of ₦30,000 in an attempt to ease the effect of the pandemic.
The announcement was made over the weekend by the Personal Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on News Media, Bashir Ahmad.
According to him, beneficiaries of the grant include drivers of taxi, bus, Okada, Keke Napep, cart pushers, and e-hailing services, including Uber and Bolt.
The Federal Government has commenced N30,000 grants for taxi, bus, okada, Keke Napep, Uber, Bolt drivers and cart pushers across the country, this is in furtherance of its commitment to support small businesses to cushion the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
— Bashir Ahmad (@BashirAhmaad) December 6, 2020
Ahmed further described the grant as FG’s “commitment to support small businesses to cushion the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
More so, the grant also fits into the overall Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP).
The NESP, as described in a previous publication, is expected to cater to at least 35,000 lives across each state of Nigeria.
Does the grant offer any real value?
With Nigeria’s current economic state, a ₦30K grant is almost insignificant to most commercial transporters.
As a matter of fact, a commercial bus driver or e-taxi operator in Lagos State makes about the same amount or more daily.
It is even more outrageous when you consider that only about 4,000 beneficiaries from each state will have access to the grant.
There is an average of 10K to 20K commercial transporter in each state, granting a low portion of 4K transporter in each one is inconsequential.
On the contrary, associate drivers under the National Union of Professional App-based Workers (NUPA-BW), among others, described the initiative as a ‘wasteful effort.’
During a chat, NUPA-BW President Comrade Ayoade Ibrahim criticized the FG’s effort.
He noted that the grant only targets a minute population of the transporters in Lagos.
According to him, only 4000 transporters will benefit from the grant in Lagos State.
“We have more than 30,000 Uber and Bolt drivers in Lagos alone. So tell me, how many Uber and Bolt drivers would eventually benefit from it?” Ibrahim said.
Furthermore, Ibrahim added that the grant which will not go round would have served more purpose if disbursed during the lockdown.
“Distributing such funds now will not serve any significant purpose” Ibrahim added.
Comrade Ibrahim, however, advised both the Lagos State and Federal Government to rather provide real empowerment to its citizens, especially those within the taxi-hailing sector.
The Comrade also called the government’s attention to other pressing needs of the motorists in general that can be addressed.
“Fuel price is now ₦161per litre. There are bad roads everywhere and the cost of parts is very high.”
“Why aren’t they talking about the possibility of electric cars? The only palliative government can give us now is car loans with 0.0% interest.”
“This industry provides jobs for more than 70% of Nigeria youth who graduate and do this work for a living,” the comrade added.
The need to implore digital solutions by policymaker
Further into the conversation, the Comrade also emphasised the need for both State and federal policymakers to look closely at the gig economy.
He also suggested that the government provides digital platforms for generating good policies and regulations.
According to him, this will check excesses by the app companies against drivers and determine a price mechanism for the sector.
Citizens on social media react
As you would expect, the Nigerian government finds it hard to appeal to its citizens when it comes to such an initiative as this.
In most cases, the government gets criticised for rendering/offering little assistance, or perhaps failing to make better decisions.
Below are some reactions from Nigerians on social media about the ₦30K grant:
How can a broke government be doing giveaway? Does these actions solve the core problems?
— Mr. 'Dipo 🇳🇬 (@edoyakulo) December 6, 2020
Instead of dashing bus, Okada, Keke Napep, Uber and bolt drivers 30k to shalaye, reduce the Petroleum Pump Price to ₦120.
You have solved their problem.
— Cmr. Moh (@I_Am_marwa) December 6, 2020
In the near future, when historians are piecing together the disaster of this adminstration, you people will claim you "Empowered" 100Million Nigerian citizens with 30K grants and lifted them out of poverty….for 24hrs.
— Sani™ (@pdauda) December 6, 2020
Even though we criticize the current government more often. I will gladly say that there has never been an administration that support SMEs like this administration. I haven’t benefited but i saw one salis a keke napep rider rejoicing after he get his Covid19 support.
— Aminu Ajebo (@HamshakiiBlog) December 6, 2020
Buhari ghost has commence N30,000 grants to his Northerners. Government of the North by the North. RIGGED BASHIR!
— Favour Christopher (@Lady_Favour1) December 6, 2020
Awon economists aye…they always have better options than the government…sometimes we just assumed govt officials are daft who don't do assessment before pronouncement. If you ask them now on what basis shd petrol be reduced, they go deaf and dumb.
— 👷♂️💦 (@Daspecial100) December 7, 2020
We the beneficiary are really happy about that and also comment the leadership style of president Mohammadu Buhari, may God almighty continue to guide protect him and also give him the ability to carry this country to the greater hight
— SADIQ YAKUBU AKUKI (@SadiqAkuki) December 6, 2020
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