According to TechCabal reports, this recent decision would affect most of the junior and mid-senior members of the operations team as well as city managers. Confirming this news in an email to TechCabal, Bolt’s Regional Manager for West and North Africa, Ireoluwa Obatoki, said “Bolt had to terminate work contracts with 17 of its employees in Nigeria due to an initiated strategy to improve our operational processes in the country. This was certainly not an easy decision to make, and we completely understand the frustration of the affected employees.”.
Although, several sources speaking to TechCabal confirmed the news of the layoff as well but disclosed that this was not part of the promise made to them by the company’s CEO Markus Villig. One of the sources who pleaded anonymity disclosed that there have been rumors of restructuring making rounds in the organization since last year but was later confirmed by the management, that there was a possibility of restructuring that would likely involve team reshuffling and the creation of new roles and departments but there was no need to worry about anyone losing their jobs.
On February 16, employees disclosed that they got emails from the regional manager, Obatoki, asking them to attend a company-wide meeting on February 20. One of the affected employees disclosed that “What most of us expected was an update on whether we will be joining a new team or going to a new city, we are instead informed of the decision to cut headcounts… She [Obatoki] then told us that ‘affected team members will be contacted to discuss exits and severance’.”
Several sources also confirmed that the severance package includes one month’s pay, three months of health insurance, and in some other cases, leave allowance. This was also confirmed by the company in an email.
Some of the employees also disclosed that the layoffs were not carried out based on a performance level but due to redundancy as some of the affected employees include staff who were the company’s best hands.
Bolt which currently operates in more than 20 cities in Nigeria, one of the affected employees is puzzled about where the redundancy might be with just 70 employees.
Bolt CEO, Markus Villig, during his visit to South Africa, pledged that Bolt would invest $500 million into its operations in Africa, which would be used to expand operations in Africa and create opportunities for over 300,000 new drivers and couriers joining their platform in 2023.
Bolt, which has reached 1 billion rides in Africa and expects the number of drivers on its platform to surpass 1 million in the next six months, is reiterating its commitment to investing long-term in local communities.
Villig disclosing the new investment plans said, “At a time when many countries are facing economic challenges, we will continue to grow our presence in Africa through this new investment which offers massive potential to create new jobs and income opportunities for drivers and couriers,”. This came as news of hope to the affected staff of Bolt who have been laid off thinking their jobs were safe.