API integration with Lagos government will guarantee safety and levy collection- Weyinmi Aghadiuno, Bolt’s Head of Policy

Ejike Kanife
Data sharing and API integration have always been an integral part of e-hailing regulation in Lagos State…
API integration with Lagos govt is to guarantee safety and levy collection- Bolt Nigeria Chief
Weyinmi Aghadiuno

The ongoing sharing data exercise through API integration between the Lagos State Government and ride-hailing companies will serve two important purposes: enhance users’ safety and security, and enable the government to effectively monitor trip counts and collect levies (especially the Road Development Fund -RDF).

This is according to Bolt’s Head of Regulatory & Public Policy for Africa, Weyinmi Aghadiuno.

This revelation comes weeks after a recent impasse between the Lagos State Government and another ride-hailing company over data sharing and API integration. The row saw officials of the state government impounding dozens of vehicles belonging to drivers operating on the Uber app.

Asked about the ultimate objective and framework of the API integration project, Aghadiuno explained that this process does not require ride-hailing companies to provide unfettered access to their databases to the government.

Instead, the API integration occurs on a distinct platform called Drive IQ, where each e-hailing company maintains its independent account on a Digital Transport Service Platform. 

denies allegations of illegal commission,

N.B: According to Technext’s findings, the Road Development Fund is a 30 naira levy that the Lagos government charges on each ride-hailing trip.

API integration as a tool for safety explained

Data sharing and API integration have always been a part of e-hailing regulation in Lagos State. The coming of e-hailing heralded an era where public transportation became the business of private individuals as anybody with a private car could join e-hailing apps as a service provider.

More so, safety breaches rose, raising concerns among law enforcement agencies and driver unions. The absence of robust Know Your Customer (KYC) protocols allowed passengers to register on these platforms and book rides without adequate verification. This posed potential risks for both drivers and passengers.

Hence, there was an urgent need for the government to adequately monitor who these private individuals are if they must be allowed to commercialise their private vehicles. Data sharing was thus introduced.

API integration with Lagos govt is to guarantee safety and levy collection- Bolt Nigeria Chief
Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos State Governor

Rather than resorting to drastic measures such as banning operations, the new transport commissioner opted for constructive engagement with ride-hailing companies. This approach led to discussions on enhancing API integration to address these issues effectively.

The government recognised the need to enhance its technical infrastructure. This led to the development of an improved solution named the Digital Transport System Platform. The objective was to enhance the government’s capability to authenticate shared information. 

At the initial stage, the data-sharing model was far from optimal. Ride-hailing companies shared logs and coordinates through Google Drive using Excel sheets, however, this model raised concerns among ride-hailing companies regarding NDPR compliance.

Central to this process were driver and passenger verification data and the authenticity of the received documentation. It was imperative to establish an API endpoint where this information could be verified, leveraging existing government records.

Addressing concerns about data safety

Yet, there were questions about the safety of users’ data that are being shared with the government. Although Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Oluwaseun Osiyemi issued a statement clarifying the subject, the question of trust is still lingering.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu
Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos State Governor

Addressing concerns about sharing data with the government, Bolt’s head of policy, Weyinmi highlighted that Nigeria’s data protection laws empowered the government to collect data for safety and security purposes, provided that has been done within the appropriate legal protocols.

“At Bolt, we prioritise data security and privacy, strictly adhering to the Nigerian Data Protection Act (NDPR) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It’s noteworthy that Lagos state follows similar standards. The integration process involved the Commissioner for ICT to ensure legal compliance and data handling standards” Weyinmi also added.

Asked if Bolt trusts the state ministry to keep their end of the data protection obligations, she said:

“Our engagements with the government, coupled with the Data Service Agreement we’ve shared, confirm that all procedures are conducted in strict accordance with the law. This includes adherence to the Nigerian Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), ensuring full compliance with legal requirements.”

She however said that the company will continue to encourage the government to prioritise the safety and security of its citizens.

“It is imperative they establish an equal playing field where all operators integrate on the DTSP platform to enhance safety and security. The ride-hailing ecosystem will be strengthened through enhanced authentication and verification of users and it will yield significant benefits for all stakeholders involved”, she added.

At the time of reporting, Bolt, InDrive, LagRide and Rida have integrated into government’s monitoring platform. Uber is yet to confirm.

See also: Bolt introduces electric motorcycles in Kenya in partnership with M-KOPA, Roam and Ampersand

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