EXCLUSIVE: Bolt Nigeria lays off nearly half of its staff, says it’s part of a restructuring process

Ejike Kanife
Sources also fear that Bolt will likely pull out of Nigeria given the continuous difficulty in doing business
Bolt vehicle

Bolt Nigeria has laid off 22 out of 45 staff, representing nearly half of its staff operating in the country. This was revealed by a source who is very close to the matter. According to the source, members of staff affected include senior management, effectively making it the first time the leading mobility company would be laying off members of its senior management.

The source also revealed that all of Bolt’s staff in Warri and Port Harcourt were affected by the recent wave of layoffs. In Edo State, all but one have been laid off. 

The source also claims Bolt’s job cuts in recent times are really about cutting costs to make the company more efficient and profitable. they said this particular one is likely about the unit economics of doing business in Nigeria.

Fuel prices are high, and so is the cost of spare parts in the market. Ride prices can’t guarantee drivers enough earnings so this will likely lead to drivers pulling out. There are fewer and fewer completed trips as customers can no longer afford to pay for rides. The low purchasing power in the country, inflation and forex issues mean the business is likely tanking in Nigeria, according to the source.

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Yahaya Mohammed, Bolt Nigeria Country Manager

While the source expects that the company will hold on for as long as they can, mainly through major cost-cutting measures like this one, unless things improve and improve fast, there are fears that Bolt will likely pull out of Nigeria or at least restrict its services to only the profitable cities like Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt.

Restructuring process: Bolt Responds

When Technext reached out to Bolt for its response, the company said it has never done any layoffs which implies the company is struggling financially. It said all it had done was to “discontinue its collaboration” with 22 employees in a restructuring process.

Bolt has never done and is not doing any layoffs, which implies massively downsizing the team because the company is struggling financially. We have made the difficult decision to discontinue collaboration with 22 employees in Nigeria. This decision comes as we have been going through the process of restructuring a considerable number of customer support and operational processes in the country,” a company spokesperson told Technext.

The company also said it has offered the people who will be leaving severance packages that will support their transition to new career opportunities. They also said the decision does not affect the quality of its products for riders and drivers and that it sees great potential in Nigeria and will continue to stand by its investment commitments in all of its African markets.

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Bolt’s layoff is the second in as many years

In February 2023, Technext broke the news that Bolt is laying off nearly a third of its Nigerian workforce. This came at a time when the company was touting a global recruitment drive across its markets. At the time, the company laid off 20 of the 70 staffers it had in the country. Most of them were junior and mid-level staff, leaving the company with mostly senior and management staff.

A lot of junior staff are being let go. There’s no letter or circular yet, just an announcement at an All Hands Meeting where the Nigerian ops team were present. This is after they promised they won’t lay off staff, they would just slash spending instead,” a source revealed to Technext at the time.

See also: Bolt lays off nearly a third of its Nigerian workforce amid reports of global recruitment

According to the company’s People Manager, Afolake Ismaila in her chat with the affected, the reason for the layoffs was because the company was “restructuring” its Nigerian operations.

The laid-off members of staff are also unhappy with the severance package made available to them at the time. These packages were based on how long each person has worked for the company. Anyone who has been with them for 1 year got an extra month’s salary. 2 years got 2 months. And, staff members that have worked for a period that is less than a year got half a month’s pay.

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