The economy of enforcement

Lagos is a mad place. Chaos incorporated. Although that isn’t enough to make me do the Andrew Method (run away) . Apart from security and electricity, traffic is the biggest problem we have. It takes X number of hours to move from point A to B. I know that LASTMA was created to solve this problem but they are more interested in shafting drivers than resolving the road logjam. But that is a story for another day or symposium like Abami Eda would say.

Another tangent to this post is that all tiers of government are broke, my dear Lagos inclusive. Fashola is rolling out tax laws faster than Usain Bolt could complete a 100m dash. That itself hasn’t worked well.

Talking about the traffic palaver, even though we have bad roads, 80% (don’t ask for the source of data!) of the gridlock is caused by bad drivers: Danfo drivers picking passengers; vehicles moving against traffic; impatient drivers not giving way at junctions, etc.

It came to me that government could augment its income with loads of law breakers roaming the street. I know LASTMA has gotten away with not doing much because government wasn’t expecting much from them. But say LASTMA has a target of catching 5,000 offenders a day with average fine of 10,000. That is some 50M per day and almost a billion in one month. Well, maybe that is an exaggeration but come on, if LASTMA can generate enough fines to pay for its officers, what is wrong with that? When people know that the cost of breaking a traffic offence is so much, they start behaving and then traffic is better and ultimately there is going to be need for fewer LASTMA officers.

Same crooked (smile) idea could be applied to building codes (those converted shops cause more evils that you can imagine) and to companies messing up the environment. Think of the glee of fining offices that block drainages with N100K or the premises get locked down. When it becomes so expensive to break the law, the government can spend less money unblocking those drainages.

And hopefully, they would have more money to pave the road and a smooth road makes it easier to escape LASTMA in case I get caught. Now, I think you get the point.

Author: dejiolowe

Adédèjì is the founder of Lendsqr, the loan infrastructure fintech powering lenders at scale. Before this, he led Trium Limited, the corporate VC of the Coronation Group, which invested in Woven Finance, Sparkle Bank, Clane, and L1ght, amongst others. He has almost two decades of banking experience, including stints as the Divisional Head of Electronic Banking at Fidelity Bank Plc. He drove the turnaround of the bank’s digital business. He was previously responsible for United Bank for Africa Group’s payment card business across 19 countries. Alongside other industry veterans, he founded Open Banking Nigeria, the nonprofit driving the development and adoption of a common API standard for the Nigerian financial industry. Beyond open APIs, Adédèjì works deeply within the fintech ecosystem; he’s the board chairman at Paystack. Adédèjì is a renowned fintech pundit and has been blogging on technology and payments at dejiolowe.com since 2001.

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