Cash crunch: Lagos releases impounded vehicles to owners free
Lagos State government has begun releasing impounded vehicles to their owners free of charge due to the cash crunch occasioned by the Naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu had three weeks ago introduced palliative measures to cushion the effect of the Naira redesign policy which has led to extreme cash crunch in Nigeria.
As part of the move to scale up the palliative measure, the state government decided to release vehicles impounded for minor traffic offences to their owners and waved the fines.
The release of the vehicles to their owners began on Saturday and is still ongoing.
Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, in an interview on Tuesday said the governor had extended the palliative measures by ensuring that vehicles impounded for minor traffic offences were returned to their owners with the fines waved.
Oladeinde said: “When you look at what the governor proposed, especially during the cash crunch period, we have reduced public transport fare by 50%. So when you go on our BRTs and all the Lagos State funded public transport, including Lag Ride, we have reduced the fare by 50% just to alleviate the suffering of our people.
“Apart from that, moving away from transport, we have opened up food banks in certain areas. So we’re beginning to give out palliative just to ensure that people get through this cash crunch period.
“We’re happy that APC has won at the national level. And we are beginning to see some of these policies being reversed. So we’re hoping that in a short time, life would return back to normal but in terms of public transport, I think we’ve reduced fare by 50%.”
Oladeinde added: “There are some people that committed offences during that period and we understand the fact that money wasn’t easy to come by. Looking at the governor’s magnanimity, the governor has deemed it fit to ensure that people who committed crimes within that period and wanted to pay or couldn’t pay as a result of the shortage of cash, they should come and pick up their cars and he has waved the fines.
“Mind you, that does not include major crimes committed. These are just minor traffic offences that have been committed in Lagos and this is showing empathy and trying to understand that look, we understand how difficult it has been and it is not a reason for us to stop you from making ends meet and so hence the governor’s magnanimity.”
Meanwhile, Oladeinde said transportation would continue to be the backbone of the state’s economy, adding that when one looked at the policies the government is implementing, they have helped to reposition the sector.
He said the government had continued to test-run the Blue Line Rail system and that full operation of the rail system would kick off in April as promised by the governor.
“We are opening up the whole public transport arena so that people can have options. So we’re going to continue to encourage private sector to bring in more profit.
“We’re trying to move away from diesel which has been very expensive, and has made public transportation expensive. So we are now piloting some diesel, some CAG buses, and over time, we already have investors who want to bring in these buses and that will crash the cost of public transportation. So we’re doing that with LAMATA,” he said.