The Lagos State Government has empowered 1,000 members of the Lagos State Vulcanisers Association spread across the five divisions of the State with Ubiquitous Boxes (U-BOX) and other equipment that will further enhance their vocation.

Speaking at the launch and distribution of Ubiquitous Boxes to the beneficiaries, Governor Ambode said that the gesture was in line with his promise to recognise and support the informal sector for its massive contributions to the Lagos economy.

The Governor, who was represented at the event by the Special Adviser on Civic Engagement, Mr. Benjamin Olabinjo explained that the State Government approved the introduction of three variants of the U-Box, namely: U-Box for Vocational Services (UV-Box); U-Box for Food Vendors (UF-Box); and U-Box for Petty Traders (UT-Box) as a way of standardising the businesses of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises.

“Today’s launch is a significant milestone as the Ubiquitous Box for Vulcanizers (UV-Box) is the pilot phase of the Ubiquitous Box for commercial roadside operators designed by the State Government as a three-pronged empowerment scheme aimed at relocating and regulating registered street traders in our State,” the Governor added.

He recalled that over the years, unregulated street trading portended many dangers not only to the operators but to other citizens and the environment, resulting in a high incidence of traffic logjams, avoidable accidents, loss of lives and property, and environmental pollution.

Governor Ambode said that the State government decided to include commercial roadside operators as beneficiaries of the aesthetic, purpose-built, safe and environmentally-friendly units in government approved designated areas such that mobile artisans and traders would no longer cause obstruction to free flow of traffic nor litter streets with waste.

He added that “In order to recover Government’s expenditure on these projects, each UV-Box has been innovatively designed to generate revenue for the State Government through subscription for use of advert panels/billboards by interested members of the public under the supervision of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives”.

He charged all the relevant stakeholders and beneficiaries of the empowerment scheme to ensure that the vision behind this noble initiative is kept alive, just as he expressed confidence that the incoming administration will continue with the next phases of the programme.

Earlier, the Director of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Mr. Hakeem Adeniji informed the stakeholders at the event that the provision and distribution of the U-Boxes is the highpoint of other preparatory activities and an important part of the empowerment programme of the Lagos State Government.

He envisaged that the U-Boxes will change the hitherto environmentally degrading mode of operations of roadside commercial operators for the better as well as enhance the dignity of the vulcanising trade in the State.

Adeniji advised operators of the U-Box to ensure proper custody of the equipment, stressing that if the Box is lost or stolen within a specified period, the beneficiary will pay the cost of the UV-Box, which is N323,300 to the State Government.

Ayomide Oyewole

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