By Daniel Tyokua
The minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), malam Muhammad Musa Bello has flagged-off new vehicles for commercial purposes in the nation’s capital.
He said the initiative follows his promise to introduce palliative measures that would cushion the effects of the restriction imposed on tricycles, popularly known as Keke Napep in some parts of the Federal Capital City (FCC).
Bello who facilitated the acquisition of the 33 Nissan Saloon vehicles for commercial taxi operations, said acquisition of the vehicles was through its small and micro businesses arm, the Abuja Enterprise Agency (AEA) Limited.
The minister explained that 20 of the beneficiaries drawn mainly from the Keke rider unions, were trained by the AEA and profiled for access to finance which facilitated the acquisition of the vehicles that they would use in conducting their trade.
He noted that a private sector company, MTI Taxi Limited also provided 13 vehicles for the scheme in collaboration with the AEA.
The FCT Minister who was represented at the flag-off ceremony by his Chief of Staff, Bashir Mai Bornu, said the beneficiaries of the scheme had been made to undergo adequate drive test as well as profiled for access to finance.
Mai Bornu stressed that the gesture is a testament to the Administration’s desire to improve the wellbeing of residents especially by creating an enabling environment for business to grow, through the provision of a well-structured transport system in the FCT.
He therefore commended the Abuja Enterprise Agency for facilitating the introduction of the palliative scheme, even as he praised the leadership of the Keke operators’ unions for collaborating with the FCTA to ensure the success of the scheme.
The Minister urged the beneficiaries to deploy the taxis in areas where tricycles have been restricted to cushion the effects.
Earlier in his address, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Abuja Enterprise Agency, Dr Arabi Tukur said the agency trained 20 individuals selected by the Confederation of Tricycle Motor Operators Association (CONFACTRIMO) in the FCT, on modules covering entrepreneurship to develop their business acumen, as well as provided a driver instruction class to test the proficiency of the drivers.
The MD further noted that the beneficiaries of the scheme have been given four years to make full payment for the vehicles, after which they will become eventual owners.
He also disclosed that all the vehicles for the scheme have been marked, commercially registered and placed on tracking systems to eliminate any security concerns that passengers might have
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, the treasurer, Keke NAPEP in FCT, Sanusi Usman thanked God for the privilege to upgrade from Keke Napep riders to taxi owners, through the efforts of the FCT Minister.
Usman further disclosed that the taxis were given to the beneficiaries at the rate of N3.8 million, adding that they have agreed to be making weekly payments of N23,000 for a period of four years, after which they will take full possession of the vehicles.