Carpooling is cheaper for corporate organisations, says Evbakhavbokun

Osamede Evbakhavbokun is the Founder NG-ride, an online rental car solution deploying technology to reduce cost transportation in the country, particularly corporate organisations. In this interview with KINGSLEY JEREMIAH, he discusses the future of transportation, noting that the development in the sector will soon help corporate organisations reduce their cost. Excerpts:

What is your take on the future of transportation in Nigeria?
The transport market in Nigeria is still very open. Logistic, Taxi, corporate social providers and rental businesses have huge potential to serve the market. I see some changes in the near future. Corporate organisations may be moving to these services to drive their businesses rather than owning cars. That would reduce their cost. A market like Lagos may lead the change because there is a huge demand for these kinds of services. In terms of infrastructure, government’s determination, in Lagos for instance may address some of the challenges we have been having. The Federal Government is also making efforts; we are hoping that the others will continue in this pace.

Do you see the emergence of rail as a challenge to your kind of business?
I think if the rail is put in place it will benefit all Nigerians; people want the rail fixed. That will add value to businesses and national economy. What will happen is for us to restructure, so we would have to determine what and what not to handle because the potential will remain even with the rail system. Until the change comes, we will know the right step to take. When we get to that point we will be unveiling new ways to work around the emergence of rail.

What is NG-Ride all about?
NG-Ride is a car renting service. Our aim is to make car rental affordable and accessible to everyone. We combine the features of Uber and car rental solution. Just like Uber, we don’t own vehicle as well we only have partners.  Though the Taxi space is growing but there a lot of people who want to rent a car to determine the particularly kind of car they would want to ride in. We see a great need for car rental against Taxi in the market. The cost benefits are immense, particularly for the corporate organisations we deal with.  We already have more than 300 cars in our fleet, over 900 rentals and above 70 per cent full day hire so far. In this period of recession, organisations are surviving by cutting down costs and our services offered the right solution in the areas of transportation. The cost of acquiring vehicles is currently high and most organisations need to solve their logistic needs, so we are proving pick-ups and vans to service that need. We are listing cars that are owned by individuals using their cars for regular businesses. This makes the cars cheaper and the customers get value for money because the cars are cheaper and easily accessible
We are in business mainly because we want to provide a cost effective means for people to move around. That is our passion and we are a major player in that. While the other car rentals are seen as internationals and people can not really have a conversation with them, we are an indigenous company trying to meet our local need. These are things that inspired us and we are moving fast with that.In terms of expansion we are consolidating on the market in Lagos first, and leveraging technology to address challenges.

So your organisation is reaping the gains of recession?
Yes. In a sense it creates business for us because what we realised is that there is a need to move about and that is where our business comes from. Transport business has demand whether there is recession or not, but we are seeing great demand. Corporate organisations are demanding for a car pool service so that they no longer want to be burdened by paying driver and tackling maintenance issues. So this has caused a growth in our corporate pool cars.

What are the challenges that need to be addressed to help the sector add meaningfully to national economy?
I don’t think anybody is being supported enough in Nigeria. Apart from the fact that you have to provide your own road, water, light etc, in terms of the technology space government needs to do more. There should be smart incentives to help the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector. We have a very tough market that requires a lot to work to sustain it. Funding is a serious challenge and this may not make the local organisations to compete favourably. There is no real fund where SMEs in Nigeria can go to for funding, we need enabling environment to allow businesses to thrive. Until these challenges are sorted the sector may not take shape. The forex challenge is worsening the challenges and there is serious rise in the cost of doing business. But pumping more dollars into the system will not solve the current pressure, we need to float the naira. 

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