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Business Finance Info & Updates

OPay suspends ride-hailing platforms

Pius Utomi Ekpeli/AFP

ORide driver decked out in bib and helmet in company colours check apps to respond to calls from client in Lagos, on August 30, 2019. – A growing number of ride hailing services have stepped into the chaos — bringing order to the “okada” motorbike taxis that have long whizzed perilously around Lagos. Before the systems launched, Lagosians in a hurry had to put their faith in the army of unregulated “okada” riders weaving hazardously through the traffic. But with the emergence of the Uber-style motorbike taxis, motorists often dump their cars for one of a raft of new motorbike ride hailing apps that developers hope can speed up journeys and to beat gridlock on Lagos roads for the roughly 20 millions residents of the economic capital.

 OPay has shut down its ride-hailing services, ORide, OCar, and its logistics service OExpress temporarily.

The tech company in a statement on Thursday said it was shutting down due to the harsh business conditions which had affected many Nigerian companies.

It mentioned the pandemic and government ban on ride-hailing platforms as part of the reasons.

The company noted that despite all efforts it undertook in mitigating the adverse impact of the COVID-19, the OPay was still impacted.

It added that it was restructuring its business model.

The statement read, “Globally, ride-sharing businesses have been heavily impacted by the pandemic.

“But several months ago, foreseeing this issue, OPay had already taken pre-emptive steps to restructure our business focus away from rides.

“It is worthy to note that this final restructuring has minimal impact on OPay as a whole.”

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It explained that there was increased demand for its offline mobile money agency, and online digital payment platform during the first four months of the year.

The firm said, “From January to April 2020, for example, we witnessed a 44 per cent growth of offline and online transaction value even in the midst of the pandemic and lockdown.

 “This is a testament to the high demand for flexible and easy financial services by Nigerians.”

It promised to still operate in the e-commerce space, noting that its financial platform would transform Nigeria’s future, in the era of technological development.

The Lagos State Government had on February 1 commenced enforcement of the extant Transport Sector Reform Law 2018 which banned operations of motorcycles in some areas.

This affected OPay’s ride-hailing platform businesses.

BMP Car launches new one

Meanwhile, BMP Car has launched a ride-hailing platform that allows users to book rides to their destinations.

The firm said the app employs a two-in-one model to help users go about their journey either inter or intrastate at an affordable cost.

Speaking at the event launch which held in Lagos, the Chief Executive Officer, Ezekiel Ojo, said the selling point of the app which was the ride-sharing platform where a user who plied a particular route could share his destination with others.

He said this allowed other people plying that route to join his vehicle.

Ojo also added that the platform had the VIP model which worked like a regular private taxi hire.

A member of BMP team, Chuma Iweama, while explaining how the app worked said, “It has a car-sharing and VIP model on the same platform.

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“I can book a ride alone – that is the VIP platform. For the ride-sharing, say I am going to a particular destination, I just go on BMP Car and search for people going that same route.

 “If there is anybody that has offered this ride, then a user can join. It can work for interstate or intrastate travel.”


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