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Moove drivers protest in Lagos over continued frustration

The sight of a Suzuki Alto or S-Presso moving on the streets in the posh parts of Lagos is not unfamiliar. While the vehicle might seem out of place in the upscale areas, it serves an important function. Moove, a Nigerian automobile financing startup, in partnership with Uber, placed them on the streets to serve as taxis in the Uber Go category. To date, Moove has raised $250 million in debt and equity funding. 

Compared to other ride-hailing platforms, Uber Go is a cheaper ride-hailing option. While the category may provide relief to customers, drivers tell a different story of continued frustration over long hours and high remittances. Drivers registered under the category are currently on strike in Lagos. The drivers say that they are forced to work for 12 hours, complete 12 rides daily for 6 days a week, and remit $20 (₦9,400) every day to Moove while still having to pay a commission to Uber.

On a call with TechCabal, an Uber Go driver shared that his average daily income is $28 (₦13,000) and after buying fuel and paying his remittances, he is usually left with nothing else at the end of the day. “I work from morning to night, and by the time I pay Moove and Uber’s money and buy fuel, I am usually left with nothing else,” he said. 

Moove rents out the cars to the drivers in a hire purchase model, where the drivers would become the owners of the cars after paying the value that Moove determines. Although the Suzuki vehicles used in the Uber Go category typically sell for $13,500 ( ₦6.2 million) in Ghana and are sold for $21,500 ( ₦9.9 million) in Nigeria by Suzuki, Moove rents them out to the drivers for $25,450 ( ₦11.7 million). At a daily remittance rate of ₦9,400, it would take a driver 41 months (3 years and 5 months) to complete their payments.

Suzuki S-Presso Image Source: Suzuki

Another driver told TechCabal that although he’s not part of the protests because he joined Moove recently, he thinks that the conditions were difficult. “I am not part of the protests because I am not on any platform with the other drivers. No one reached out to me, but I think that the condition with Moove is too hard.”

He also shared that the original agreement with Moove has changed, and the change has caused a lot of confusion.

When asked how many hours their drivers have to work, the penalty for missing the hours, the daily remittance, how much Uber charges its drivers, and how Moove has responded to driver concerns, the company said in a statement, “Although Moove’s product is the most affordable in the market, we are extremely sympathetic to the challenges our customers face, given the current state of the Nigerian economy.”

It is important to note that all this is happening during a cash crisis and one of the worst fuel shortages in Nigeria. The company also referenced the recent challenges, saying that it is a “customer-obsessed company” and has rolled out initiatives like “more consistent savings from our fuel subsidies, freedom with our 4-week annual remittance holidays, stronger insurance protections or reduced barriers to earning an income from our no upfront deposits…”.

Weekly Remittance (6 days)₦             56,604 ( $123)
Total Cost of Product (over 4 years)₦      11,773,632 ($25,610)
Retail Price of Vehicle (Suzuki Nigeria)₦        9,900,000 ( $21,535) 
Annual Interest Rate8.9%

Moove’s hire purchase terms. Source: Moove

In regards to remittances, the company included the above table in its statement and said, “In comparison to banks in Nigeria that are charging drivers up to 25% APR with deposits of no less than N1.5m upfront, with the Moove product, there is no upfront deposit and our 48-months drive-to-own is priced at 8.9% APR. Furthermore, we also provide a number of other benefits included in our product that are otherwise not within reach of drivers; this includes auto insurance, health insurance, life insurance and a service maintenance and repairs package.”

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include Suzuki’s official price for the Suzuki S-Presso car in Lagos, Nigeria.

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