On ride-hailing regulations, Lagos state finally listens to reason
Lagos state has made an about face on ride-hailing
in partnership with FLUTTERWAVE 17.08.2020
Hello there, Welcome to TC Daily! In today's digest: the Lagos state government has made a u-turn on its ride-hailing regulations, getting a National ID may go Digital in Nigeria and Kenya may pass new laws to force Kenyan part ownership in tech companies. Please take a moment to subscribe to our newsletter if this email was forwarded to you.

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We often go over this newsletter until we think it's perfect. It's never perfect. Sometimes people tell us how in 1985, this newsletter used to be better. So here's the idea: we can't go back in time. Instead, we'll tell you the most important things and our thoughts on them and keep doing that until Friday. That's the contract, we'll make changes. Speaking of changes, the Lagos state government finally has some original ideas. Here's what the draft regulations for ride-hailing companies in Lagos originally looked like;
  • Licencing fees of N10 million for operators
  • Service charge of 10% per ride
  • Acceptable cars that are brand new or at least 3 years from manufacture
  • Access to the database of all platforms
While Wole Olayinka thinks that online petitions don't work, most people in Lagos could see from a mile away that a service charge on all rides would make them more miserable. They didn't even have to sign a petition. Thankfully, the Lagos state government has now seen reason and it has made a couple of important changes. The first is a 20% reduction in licencing fees and the second is that there is no more service charge of 10% on all rides. In place of that pesky 10% charge, all rides on platforms like In-Driver, Uber and Bolt will pay a flat fee of N20 for what the government says is an infrastructural fund. How this fund will be accountable to the public is a question that the government isn't answering yet.
"I know there's this link where you can print your NIMC card on IoS and Android, but I tried it yesterday and it didn't work." On Saturday, the Nigerian Identity Management Commission (NIMC) put up a process where Nigerians could digitally get their national identity cards. Before now, that process has been difficult. You would go to a registration center, find long queues, sometimes need to pay your way through only to end up with a slip with a temporary National Identification Number. The problem with these identification slips was that it could take up to three years to get a permanent National ID. It explains why when tweets about getting the National ID online surfaced, it became interesting. The mood went from joyful to concerns about privacy. A few people talked about data leaks and eventually, the NIMC app was pulled off the Google Playstore. At this time, the NIMC has not responded to any reports about its app, potential leaks as well as what it hoped to achieve.
Kenya’s ministry of information and communication technology has publicly released a policy document to help aid the country’s ICT sector. Among other interesting provisions, the policy states that foreign tech companies should have at least 30% Kenyan ownership before they are licenced to operate in the country. Read all about it here.
In February when the Lagos State government banned bike-hailing startups in Nigeria's commercial capital, at least 5,000 jobs, by our estimates, were hanging in the balance. One of those affected was 33-year-old driver, Chigozie Bright. "If they ban the bikes I won’t be able to pay my rent or my children’s’ school fees. I’m a graduate. I went to school but there are no good jobs in the country so I need to do this one to help myself and my family," Bright told Reuters. Bright was a driver with Gokada, the bike-hailing startup founded by the late Fahim Saleh. Saleh made a passionate plea to the government to lift the ban but eventually had to lay off 80% of Gokada's workforce when the ban remained. Prior to the ban, Ugandan ride-hailing startup, Safeboda side-stepped Lagos and chose to launch in Ibadan, one of Nigeria's largest cities as a result of problematic government conversations. A decision that appears to have paid off. Since the okada ban, there have been some troubling regulatory announcements in Nigeria. From the expensive charges on ride-hailing company in Lagos (now reviewed), a potential transport license in Oyo to a new broadcasting code at the federal level. It's not just Nigeria. South Africans are worried about a new films and publications amendment bill and Ugandans have been dealing with a repressive social media tax for some time now. Yet there's strong evidence that innovation and regulation are inversely related. Favourable government policies encourage startups and entrepreneurs to thrive. The lower the regulatory quality, the lower the country's innovation output. And in that regards, African countries seem to be taking one step forward and one backwards.
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