So VIO and Lagos State Government are clamping down on Uber Drivers


#1

Its not news that Uber almost always have to battle with local authorities wherever it launches… and alas I hear that battle has begun in Lagos.

I just got off the phone with a friend who is an uber partner in Lagos and he told me that one of his Uber cars was seized by VIO agents yesterday and the offence committed by the driver is that …wait for it… “YOU ARE AN UBER DRIVER!”.

Apparently, they saw a phone holder in the car, stopped the vehicle and asked for his papers… when they saw his hackney permit, they immediately charged him with the offence of being an uber driver and subsequently seized the car and took it to their office.

When the guy managing the cars went to the VIO office to resolve the issue, he found out that there were several Ubers cars seized in the parking lot.

From the story I gathered, apparently, Lagos state officials when to Uber office to demand a meeting. When no one agreed to grant them an audience, they resorted to seizing any Uber car they can find…

So welcome my friends to Lagos, where cars of private citizens are being seized because someone in power is failing to contend with a tech startup…


Hi, I'm Gbenro Ogundipe, Uber Partner/Driver, Ask me Anything
#2

This is quite unfortunate, and sad.


#3

Actually not quite. If the government is unable to collect taxes from Uber drivers, and Uber has, in their view, refused to assist them in resolving the issue, then banning or restricting the business is the end game.

In other words, Pay Your Tax.


#4

sounds like far better treatment than what they received from the Chinese government.
https://www.techinasia.com/uber-office-police-raid-china-guangzhou


#5

That’s just stoopid of them…but the Uber NG guys could have just grant them audience…E no go pass tax…Give Ambode what belongs to Ambode.


#6

First its impossible for Uber to collect taxed on behalf of Lagos govt from the drivers.

This is because, tax is usually on profit and not on gross revenue. All Uber knows about each driver is the gross revenue. There is no way uber can accurately determine other costs for each driver. example costs being driver salary, fuel consumption, internet data consumption, car depreciation, call credits, tolls, car maintenance, management commissions, insurance, just to mention a few.

To estimate these cost for each driver/partner and then deduct it before uber pays them will just be wrong.

So in my opinion, instead of fighting uber drivers, govt should put together a think tank and find a way to get it right. Its just unfortunate that in nigeria when it comes to tax, government usually applies the “agbero” approach.

PS, I am getting info that NURTW may also have a part to play in this.


#7

Uber collects the tax from the drivers and pays to the government accordingly. Every fare is taxed!


#8

The tax you are referring to is based on Uber’s earnings.

Every citizen should pay tax… the tax we are talking about is the driver’s income tax which should be from the income he/she makes driving for Uber.


#9

Why is everyone taking this part on face value?

If you’re ubering with a vehicle in your name you don’t have any problem.

But for fleet drivers Ubering requires a separate license; LAS-G, which is only issued in Lagos. Ubering for another person is considered a commercial undertaking so you must have your drivers covered with this license. Most private handlers don’t know this.


#10

I didn’t say Uber should collect taxes on behalf of Lagos state. However, it is actually possible that Uber are on the hook for WHT deductions.

At the very least, LIRS will be interested in the following:

  1. PAYE / Income Tax - Most likely not applicabe in this case because it is commonly understood that their contracts with the drivers classify them as “Independent Contractors”, not employees. That said, LIRS cannot determine it until they review the contracts under the ambit of Nigerian Law.
  2. Withholding Tax - definitely applicable. I’m sure the drivers fall into at least one or two of the WHT subheads
  3. Payments - information about gross payments to drivers will also help the state to determine if the drivers (or their companies) are under-reporting their earnings.

In summary, it makes no sense to fight, dodge, or cheat the LIRS. It will never end well.


#11

I agree with you on this point


#12

True. Let’s not forget that a lot of eyes have seen how the Chinese brought Uber to heel by frustrating them into doing a deal, and one thing Lagos / Nigeria is not short of is extremely ambitious big men, who won’t shy from using state power to tame a multi-billion dollar gorilla.

All for the public good, of course.


#13

I sure hope so.


#14

I think you’re referring to Value-Added Tax (one of the applicable taxes), which is the only tax they can reliably collect.


#15

Lets face it, Uber should just simply get this drivers and partners on a payroll and solve the Tax issue while lobbying to end same issue, so tame the beast while u find a poison for it if they are to truly get things moving or maybe the new raise is for hush hush lobbying, who knows…

Currently Drivers( Private or public) Pay tax via PAYE or via their unions namely NURTW which government collects from, so its either Uber drivers have or join NURTW and get covered or pay their tax, again VIO has no right to stop a car if all its papers are complete, meaning the drivers and Uber need to be smart. Dont use Phone on Dashboard, know the routes well so you dont need to rely on the app for directions, Get all your papers sorted, Uber Partners get all your drivers to do PAYE from LIRS, its an investment to make money so why not invest wisely.

If there was no uber , drivers would still have gotten same documents since they would be doing Airport waka which is anoda series of registration.

Nigerian Laws are archaic, if other countries have issues with Uber then talk less of ours.


#16

Its left for @ebiatawodi and her team to look up ways to lobby the government, legislation… and the likes.


#17

Indeed! Including the padded budget?