Home Column Talk about the Eko-nomy

Talk about the Eko-nomy


City boys are always outside. Pay them in health or you can pay your doctor, mechanic, or client. The safety of you and your goods is secondary to their quest for ‘settlement’. As you settle, remember our motto: “Eko o ni baje” (Lagos will not spoil).

Lagos, being a cosmopolitan city, boasts of many things, one of which is its ability to generate massive IGR. While some stakeholders have focused on the green side of it, let’s touch on the grey sidethe Ekonomy. I am referring to the bottleneck faced by logistics persons and regular people who have to drive on the streets of Lagos. I have first-hand experience of the problems touts and their affiliates cause. These folks enjoy their Eko-given right to extort law-abiding, tax-paying citizens going about their business. These are your city boys. Pay your dues!

It used to be surprising when I ventured into operations as a career. Nowadays, I update my street lingo and begin negotiating from a position of strength. Note that these folks rarely care about your pocket size. They are present to extort you, wholeheartedly. If you are unfortunate enough to experience a vehicular breakdown on Lagos roads, you can testify to the unkindness of these touts. If you’re lucky enough to meet a kind squad, they’ll provide timely assistance with your issues and demand payment after. However, most are only about the money.

The entertainment industry continues to suffer the wrath of touts, looking to extort for no other reason than you “being in their area”. There’s no regard for the permits obtained from relevant agencies. You can settle and get to work, or you can buy new equipment. Or should I talk about the challenges courier services (read dispatch bikes) face daily from these extortionists? Every major road leading to and from industrial areas, high-brow areas, and ports is littered with touts waiting for their IGR providers.

Even on the green side, the real economy, the complaints are not far off. The multiple taxation by known and unknown agents does not help Lagos’ case in attracting new visitors and investors. Yes, the praise singers will talk about IGR and the population doing business; but need I remind you that Lagos is by design and geography supposed to attract even better, and only good governance and an overhaul of the Ekonomy will foster that.

The anxiety, and pain that come with navigating the stress are not healthy for body, mind, and business. Their actions have been known to increase OPEX, increase downtime, and hinder productivity. Logistics is the driver of businesses, and city boys should not be allowed to dictate the pace. They are a cancer that needs to be cut out. Other states also have to figure out if they want some of what Lagos attracts, provide incentives, and rid themselves of poor examples.

Read more: In Technicalities We Trust

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