• Lagos state government may release a new regulatory framework for ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Bolt.
  • Commuters believe this will further compound traffic mess in Lagos and create an unfriendly environment for investors.
  • Uber and Bolt say they will continue to work closely with the Lagos State government to ensure smooth operations in line with best practices.

In a move that may compound trouble for commuters in Nigeria's most stressed city, the Lagos state government is working on a new regulatory framework for ride-sharing companies.

Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu at the 74th United Nations General Assembly [Twitter/@jidesanwoolu]
Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu at the 74th United Nations General Assembly [Twitter/@jidesanwoolu]

The state had placed a ban on Motorcycles and Tricycles, including bike ride-hailing startups. The move has been criticised widely while some are planning a protest against it.

Sources at the Lagos State Ministry of Transportation told Business Insider SSA on Friday that the regulatory issue for ride-hailing companies operating was briefly discussed during the week's meeting.

“The issue was raised at a meeting while finalising on the bike ride-hailing services but not was given much attention. I think the top management are working on how to regulate the ride-sharing companies too,” one of the sources who pleaded anonymity said.

A report by Guardian Nigeria also corroborated this. The report stated the government is planning to enforce “necessary laws on the drivers on ride-hailing platforms such as Uber” and Bolt. It also added that riders will now go through the Lagos Drivers’ Institute for certification before they can operate.

The government is currently looking at two options for Uber and Bolt riders – one is to place them under commercial while the other is to issue stickers to the rider before they operate.

It is not yet finalised and no concrete arrangement on fees for now. They (government) are still trying to invite Uber and Bolt for talk,” another source said.

Uber and Bolt react

Uber declined to comment but did not deny ongoing talk with the government. “We can't at this time speak on any potential or ongoing policy and regulatory conversations with the government," Efosa Aiyevbomwan, Uber's spokesperson told Business Insider SSA.

Aiyevbomwan said the company will continue to work closely with the Lagos State government to ensure smooth operations in line with best practices. “Uber continues to work closely with the Lagos State government to ensure that our operations align with best practices locally and internationally.

“We will also continue to work with the government in ensuring that drivers are able to earn a living, whilst riders are also able to move from point A to B, comfortably and conveniently, at the touch of a button.”

Bolt said it recognises the importance of regulations in every society. "We are committed to working hand in hand with the Lagos State Government in formulating policies and regulations for the ride hailing space, which is a major step in the right direction for ensuring seamless operations in the city for ride-hailing platforms and all registered and intending drivers. We are confident that the Lagos State Government will make regulations in line with the unique operations of the ride-hailing platforms in the state.

Spokesperson for Bolt also confirmed that they have been engaging with the Ministry of Transport and the Vehicle Inspection Services "on a streamlined regulation specific to the mode of operations."

"We have proposed models and provided input on processes from learning, experience, and operations in other markets globally on the proper regulations for the ride-hailing space, with a focus on the following;

  • Operator license, on registration of the ride-hailing company with the Ministry of Transport
  • Vehicle registration, and 
  • Driver Registration."

NB: The story has been updated to include statement from Bolt Spokesperson.