The effect of the massive drift by Nigerian youths out of the country in search of employment could be tackled through technology apps that are driving metropolitan transport systems, writes Emma Okonji
In line with the federal government’s decision to boost local content development across all sectors of the economy that will enhance technology development in the county as well as facilitate adaptation to local conditions, technology savvy individuals and organisations are gradually developing transport apps. These apps are enabling Nigerian users to cut through gridlocks while creating massive jobs on a driver-partner scheme.
Findings from a three-month research conducted recently by an indigenous communications and public relations company, Plexus Media Interlinks Limited, shows that about 2,000 people, who are out of school and seeking employment, have taken to Taxify as a viable platform to be self-employed. They are taking advantage of the technology app crated to drive the Taxify transport business that is fast spreading across various metropolis in the country and beyond.
The study shows that one in 10 unemployed graduates are considering getting on the app to earn a living, or may have commenced the process to be signed on the platform as driver partners.
Technology that empowers youths
Some Nigerian youths who have taken advantage of the transport app created to drive the Taxify metropolitan transport business, have come out bold to testify how the technology app has empowered them in various ways and also helped them in solving unemployment challenges.
A year ago, Nigeria’s Emmanuel Akpan became a driver for Taxify and took advantage of its ride-sharing app that connects drivers with customers who want a ride. At that time, he said he saw his monthly salary nearly doubled. The 44-year-old driver makes about 16 trips per day.
“The experience has been good, especially compared with other taxis. There’s more money, and the clientele has more trust in you,” he said.
Another particular inspiring story of the Taxify revolution in the country is that of Ayo Johnson, who was a banker with one of Nigeria’s biggest banks and was laid off in the heat of the recession in 2016. With a family of four to feed and no other source of income, he turned to Taxify. In his first week he made N95,000, a figure he wasn’t even making in the new generation bank where he had worked.
“I am now able to provide for my family, keep my kids in good schools and because of the flexibility of the platform, still make it home everyday to spend time with them,” Johnson said.
According to the management of Taxify, which is made up of young talented technology savvy people, “there are so many Ayos’ who for one reason or another have chosen to either supplement their income with Taxify or make Taxify their primary source of income.”
Technology and the ease of driving
Driver partners on the Taxify platform have continued to talk about the ease of driving, the flexible hours that makes it an option for not just the unemployed but also for the underemployed, using the transport technology app.
One of the driver partners, Kehinde Adegbite, said: “I was on another ride-hailing platform before now and we were badly treated and we were down. So, the coming on board of Taxify has been awesome.”
According to him, “It came when we were down. It has empowered us. Working with Taxify is the best for any driver partner now. The commission is just unbeatable.
“Taxify takes only 15 per cent commission in contrast to competitors that take as high as 25 per cent and Taxify also constantly provide drivers with bonuses to further supplement their earnings.”
A female driver partner, Victoria Igein, said: “I have been working with Taxify for a year now and it has been the only e-sharing driver’s platform I have worked with since I lost my job in Abuja as a banker and came back to Lagos. It took me a while to get my current job, which I shuffle with being a Taxify driver, but I have been able to manage both thus far.”
She added: “The platform has met 8 out of 10 of my expectations as it favours drivers because they give more percentages and bonuses for working long hours, weekends and holidays. So I make as much as I need on Taxify and I haven’t ever bothered thinking of moving on to other platforms.”
For Chuks Izedinuor, he drove on Taxify for a week, then decided to drive professionally after losing his job.
“I can’t say so much about it for now but it has been extremely productive to work with the platform and I will definitely recommend it to other people,” Izedinuor said.
Attaining professionalism on the job
According to management of Taxify Nigeria, led by its Operations Manager, Mr. Uche Okafor, all Taxify drivers must follow certain procedures before driving on the platform, which has to do with professionalism and trust. After signing up to drive online at partners.taxify.eu and submitting all relevant authentic documents, they are trained and pass through an on-boarding process before driving on the platform. Drivers are then evaluated by passengers after each trip to ensure that the quality is maintained.
Taxify is a ride-hailing application that was founded in Estonia some years back, but it was launched in Lagos on November 18, 2016 and had since then become a top competitor to the local ride-hailing apps. The main focus is on treating drivers and riders better by providing a more inclusive service with efficient reachable support.
Taxify is aggressively expanding its African footprint. In addition to its presence in Lagos and Abuja, it is present in over six African cities and over 30 cities across Europe, the Middle East and central America.
With this ecosystem, Taxify has managed to create something many governments struggle with – a dignified, efficient, flexible and effective channel for job creation.