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Little Cab CEO raises concern over Bolt’s licencing


Bolt Kenya has been all over the news in the past couple of weeks following reports that the National Transport and Regulatory Authority (NTSA) had declined to renew its license.

NTSA has cited alleged breaches, including illegal commission charges and booking fees. The company has however come out defending itself noting that its commission structure strictly adheres to the stipulated regulatory requirement of capping at 18%.

On Monday, Bolt also released a statement saying it had suspended the 5% booking fee included in the riders’ fare. 

The firm also said its operations are ongoing and uninterrupted, and its existing licence remains legally valid.  This is a statement that did not probably sit well with Bolt’s competitor Little.

In a now-deleted statement posted on his LinkedIn Page, Little CEO Kamal Budhabhatti expressed his frustration questioning how Bolt is being allowed to operate in the country without a valid licence. 

“Wish we at Little App Kenya knew that you could operate without a licence in our country Kenya. We would have not put our time, effort, and money to get our licenses. Not sure what precedence we are setting to the business community,” the post read. 

‘’Personally, I really get demotivated when you do everything by the book while someone else xxxxx around its way undermining the rule of land,’’ the post further read. 

Well, his argument is valid, I mean, compliance is important for every business but again, it’s important to note that the applicable law allows for operating while the regulator determines your license situation. 

According to Section 32(4) of the NTSA Act, Bolt is permitted to continue operating until the licence application process is officially determined. The NTSA Act states that “If on the date of the expiration of a licence…proceedings are pending before the Authority on an application by the licensee for the grant to him of a new licence, the existing licence shall continue in force until the application is determined…” the statement further reads.

Bolt says the licence renewal process is currently in progress with constant engagement and collaboration with NTSA and it is expected to be finalised by Monday, October 30, 2023 as per a letter by NTSA to Bolt. 

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Nixon Kanali

Tech journalist based in Nairobi. I track and report on tech and African startups. Founder and Editor of TechTrends Media. Nixon is also the East African tech editor for Africa Business Communities. Send tips to nkanali@techtrendske.co.ke.

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