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Fuelvoucher App Offers Convenience, Value For Money- Co-Founders

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Chimezie Emewulu and Chibuzor Onwurah are the managing director and the executive director (Technology) of Seamfix Nigeria Limited respectively and also co-founders of FuelVoucher.com.ng.
Emewulu is a result-oriented leader, reformer and strategist with a comprehensive business and technical background. He is driven by a “hardwired” need to strategize, to innovate and to disprove the words “It cannot be done!” His work over the years has seen him negotiate and drive to business closure various mission- critical projects for brands such as IBM, First Bank, Airtel and Oando.
Onwura is a talented and versatile business and technology executive with over 7 years of sound IT industry experience in business strategy, product development, technology management as well as business process consulting. Like his business partner, Onwurah’s work over the years has seen him oversee the planning, development and execution of projects for brands such as IBM, First Bank, Airtel and Oando.
In line with the cashless initiative of the CBN they co-founded www.fuelvoucher.cm.ng.
In this Interview with peter ugwu, they expatiated on the new developments with the app to make it de-facto cashless method of purchasing petrol and fuel gifting service in Nigeria, with a vision to expand to the rest of Africa.

Defining the FuelVoucher App
FuelVoucher.com.ng was born out of the frustrations our company Seamfix Nig. Ltd faced in dealing with our fueling process as relating to managing drivers, reconciliation of fuel purchases and tracking fueling expenditures.
Prior to the onset of the service, we would have to give our drivers cash or in order to avoid this, depositsome money in a particular stationin order to purchase fuel.
Unfortunately, these options made it very difficult for our admin mangers and accountants to reconcile and monitor the fueling processes because we were limited to paper receipts that could either get missing or damaged.

Factors That Inspired FuelVoucher App
Due to the mentioned constraints, we decided to come up with a solution to help solve our problem; which we also found out was common with companies in Nigeria. We had found a gap in the market that we, as an IT company could solve.
Therefore we decided to create a solution that would efficiently manage our fueling process and save us the hassle of daily reconciliations.
We went on to build FuelVoucher.com.ng to be an efficient means of purchasing fuel on the go without having to deal with cash , cards or paper vouchers.
We built a system that anyone could easily access by signing into FuelVoucher online.
 
Purchasing Fuel Online: What the Public Needs to Know
Getting started with FuelVoucher is pretty easy. The process involves the potential user visiting www.fuelvoucher.com.ng and signing in with a number and email address or downloading the mobile app from the Google play store.
The application gives the customer access to a fuel wallet that can be toped up via a debit card or bank transfer.
Whenever the individual needs to purchase fuel all he/she needs to do is to input the voucher amount and indicate the beneficiary required that is, who he/she wants to purchase for.
An alpha numeric code will then be sent to the beneficiary as a text message and email which can then be taken to the station and presented to the attendant.
The attendant confirms the code on the FuelVoucher device and dispenses fuel to the customers.
 
Offline Users
It is common knowledge that internet connection in Nigeria is not alwaysavailable and due to this, we decided to include an option that would enable customers purchase fuel via the site without necessarily having to log into the internet.
We created a feature called FuelDirect that allows you purchase fuel at the station by inputting a four digit pin into the FuelVoucher device at the station without pre-generating a code on the site.
The pin provided is tied to the customers fuel wallet therefore whenever the customer wants to fuel his vehicles, he simply punches in his/her pin,phone number and voucher amount he wants to purchaseon the FuelVoucher device.
We also have what we call a Sub-account feature that helps companies with large fleetsof cars to allocate a certain amount to their driversinstead of generating codes for all the drivers. The drivers are given a certain allocation that they can fuel from per time.
 
FuelVoucher and Prudent Financial Management
Every transaction that occurs via the site is recorded per time and can be retrieved whenever the customer needs the information.
In order words, from the system you can view the history of all fuel purchases which includes information of who, when and where voucher codes were used, as well as the amount purchased.  When we were building the site, we decided to think about the sort of information an individual would need to be able to effectively manage his fueling both for himself and for a anorganization.

Security Check
FuelVoucher.com.ng is HTTPS secure and hence provides encrypted communication with our servers.
All data inputted by the customer is also encrypted and operations performed are audit trailed. Also, reports of transaction cannot be deleted off the system. Therefore it is impossible for an employee to delete any transaction history to hide fraudulent activities.

FuelVoucher Catchment Areas
For now we have petrol stations as partners who are based in Lagos and Port Harcourt that serve hundreds of our customers.
We are also working hard to expand partnership scope for easier access, availability and efficiency.
We just signed a partnership agreement with Interswitch that will help broaden our coverage to reach most stations across the nation. Every station that has an Interswitch POS would have FuelVoucher available. 

Cases & Causes of Reversal of E-Wallet Payments
Well, we reverse payments in some cases, depending on the genuineness of the complaints.
Nevertheless, we have not experienced a case where a fuel station refused to dispense fuel for a customer after the necessary verifications have been concluded.
However, in a situation whereby a customer miscalculates the voucher amount needed, such transaction can be reversed by the customer.

Developing Features on the App
There cannot be stagnancy in business and as such we are continuously changing and improving features on the site.
We often ask for customer feedback to help us know and understand customer needs in order to make the relevant changes.

Differentiating FuelVoucher from Regular eCommerce Platforms
What we do already sets us apart from others. FuelVoucher is not just an e-commerce platform,
but hopes to actually become a primary fulfillment channel for e-fuel.
We are building a phenomenal solution that will enable people to be able to send fuel around to each other and this will totally change the way people see fuel. During the fuel scarcity quagmire we
noticed that people were searching for alternate ways to make purchases like using the
e-commerce space.
In the light of this discovery, we are now considering delivering fuel to customers in the future. In the real sense, we are not competing with the likes of Jumia, Konga,
Kaymu, etc., rather we are partnering with oil marketers to push the business forward. 
 
How Pocket Friendly is the Service Charge?
Presently, the service is offered free of charge to all users. We are running a free-trial period and at the same time, conducting research on how the customers will prefer to be
charged for the service. Our current focus is on enlarging our current customer base.
 
Customer Satisfaction and Channels for Complaints
Any business that has a future must have listening ears, therefore we have put in place a proficient Customer Service system.As a startup, it is not just enough to have customer service in place, availability and accessibility make the circle complete. We have available contact lines, are active on social media and ensure to treat our customers with dignity.

Gifts and Incentives
We encourage our customers to send Fuel Vouchers as gifts to loved ones especially during festive seasons.
Studies have shown that in Nigeria, fuel is one of the most valued commodities and as such we also market FuelVoucher to companies to be given out as promo gifts to their customers or as incentives to staff that have distinguished themselves.

Impact of Internet Access and Broadband Availability
We are excited that internet penetration in the country continues on upward trends. The
Government is beginning to realize that broadband should be regarded as a social amenity.
Therefore, the best incentive government can offer SMEs, especially those in the e-commerce
Sub-sector is to provide infrastructure that will enable more broadband availability and access.  
 
 
 
 
       


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AfDB Appoints Dr Babatunde Samson Omotosho as Director of Statistics Department

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African Development Bank has appointed Dr Babatunde Samson Omotosho, an economist and statistician, as Director of the Statistics Department, effective June 16, 2024.

Dr Babatunde Samson Omotosho

Dr Omotosho, a Nigerian national, has more than 21 years experience in developing data strategies to align with the strategic objectives of organisations. He also brings expertise in data compilation, data analytics, macroeconomic research, and policy analysis.

Omotosho previously served as Director of Research and Statistics at the West African Monetary Agency (WAMA) in Sierra Leone, where he was seconded from the Central Bank of Nigeria. At WAMA, he provided advice on monetary and economic integration within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Prior to that he held various positions within the Statistics and Research Departments of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

As an Assistant Director in the Statistics Department, he led the data analytics team and managed the Central Bank’s strategic initiatives on big data and data analytics. He oversaw projects aimed at enhancing data analytics capabilities for policymaking, automating surveys and statistical systems, improving data sharing infrastructure and developing social media listening tools. His leadership fostered a culture of data analytics within the Central Bank, driving innovation and efficiency in operational and policy processes.

Dr Omotosho holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Glasgow, United Kingdom (2021); a master’s degree in Applied Statistics and Datamining from the University of St Andrews, United Kingdom (2011); a master’s degree in Economics from the University of Benin, Nigeria (2008); and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Ilorin, Nigeria (2000).

He has contributed extensively to academic literature, with publications in reputable journals, including the Journal of Economic Dynamics & Control, Journal of International Money & Finance, Macroeconomic & Finance in Emerging Market Economies, and the Central Bank of Nigeria Journal of Applied Statistics. His research covers big data, econometrics, monetary and fiscal policy interactions, business cycle drivers, and the macroeconomic implications of resource shocks for small open, emerging economies.

Omotosho is a member of the Nigerian Statistical Association, the International Association for Official Statistics, and the Royal Statistical Society.

Commenting on his appointment, he said, “I am grateful to President Adesina for this appointment, and I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to the continued success and growth of the African Development Bank Group, an institution that plays such a pivotal role in the economic and social development of our beloved continent, Africa. I am fully committed to fulfilling the responsibilities of the position while collaborating effectively with the Bank’s senior leadership team, colleagues, and other strategic partners.”

Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group, commented: “I am pleased to appoint Dr Babatunde Samson Omotosho, a respected statistician, as Director of the Statistics Department. Dr Omotosho brings to this role an impressive track record in statistics, economics, and data analytics. He will support the Bank in building a robust data ecosystem to achieve our strategic objectives and sustain our long-term development goals.”


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ATII Awards Scholarship to Students

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A knowledge transfer and technology innovation hub, African Technology and Innovation Institutes (ATII) has awarded scholarships to ten pupils from Bridge International Academy, Lagos.

Through its Junior Scholars Program in partnership with Lumina Educational and Empowerment Foundation (Lumina), the scholarship will meet the educational needs of the benefitting pupils through their primary education, which is extendable to their university education.

The Junior Scholars Program is an offshoot of  ATII’s  Innovation, Leaders, Fellowship and Scholars Program that aims to empower and cater to the welfare of students aged 3-12 years from underprivileged and low-income communities by partnering with other organisations to provide scholarships for these rough diamonds.

In addition to the scholarship, ATII also provides STEM-based back-to-school kits and other Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) materials to spark their desire for education and to contribute to their communities in STEM-related fields.

In her congratulatory message, the Founder of ATII,  Prof. Rose-Margaret Ekeng-Itua represented by Mr Sunday Awolowo, ATII’s Programs Manager, praised the students for their “outstanding academic excellence” and their “resolve to continue to improve in their academic pursuits, especially in the STEM fields.”

“We hope that the scholarships will continue to encourage you to do great work to pursue STEM. We hope one day in the future you all will be inspired to be an Engineer, a technologist, a mathematician or scientist,” Prof. Ekeng-Itua said.

The ATII Junior Scholars Program is designed to encourage and support students who are interested in pursuing careers in these fields.

Mrs Ezinne Tochie-Asogwa, Manager of Academics at Bridge International Academy, expressed her appreciation to ATII for the generous gesture.

“On behalf of the management and staff of Bridge International Academy, we appreciate the kind gesture of ATII.

ATII is passionate about the next generation of leaders and individuals who will change the world, pursuing its mission to promote African and Indigenous Technologies, while supporting human capital development in alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The ATII scholarships will provide financial assistance to the students as they continue their education in STEM fields. The program will also provide mentorship and support from ATII professionals.

 


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CBN, FintechNGR Chart the Way Forward to Enhance Nigeria’s Fintech Ecosystem

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In light of recent developments aimed at strengthening Nigeria’s fintech sector, Ade Bajomo, President of FintechNGR, led a team from the Association’s Governing Council in an engagement with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to chart the way forward.

Receiving the team at the CBN headquarters in Abuja, Philip Ikeazor, Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, commended FintechNGR’s active advocacy efforts that have significantly improved the fintech ecosystem.

The Central Bank emphasized the need for the Association to work closely with stakeholders to operate within regulatory provisions, facilitate compliance, and establish robust risk management frameworks and governance structures.

Mr. Ikeazor stated, “The Central Bank understands the critical roles of fintechs in driving financial inclusion to the last mile. Our efforts are geared towards helping fintechs become more attractive to investors and achieve greater success.”

During the meeting, Ade Bajomo noted that while stakeholders strive to comply with regulatory requirements, they sometimes face challenges beyond their control.

“The common understanding within our ecosystem is that compliance makes the environment safer for all to innovate, scale, and collaborate. FintechNGR will ensure the co-creation of a support structure with the CBN to enhance compliance.”

Some of the initiatives the regulators plan to pursue with the ecosystem include making the 2024 Nigeria Fintech Week more impactful, enriching the activities of the Regulators Forum, organizing fintech learning series for various stakeholders, and exploring self-regulation status for FintechNGR to foster closer relationships with regulators.

FintechNGR remains committed to working with all regulators to better position the ecosystem to be more inclusive and impactful.

 


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