Lagos State government made history in Nigeria and first in West Africa, when it launched “Eko Token” on Tuesday November 2, 2021.
‘Eko Token’ is a universal patronage cash reward aimed at rewarding Lagosians to be financially and economically empowered.
“It is also a celebration of functional people centered partnership between the state government, represented by the Ministry of Employment and Wealth Creation and the private sector, said the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Bolaji Dada, who represented Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of the state at the event.
Dada added that about 200 companies, including Airtel Nigeria, and electricity companies have keyed into the “Eko Token” reward initiative.
According to her, the scheme was initiated to complement other measures already put in place by the administration of Governor Sanwo-Olu to ease the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on citizens and businesses in Lagos.
“The potentials of the Lagos State universal patronage cash reward are enormous as the initiative will see to it that for over five years, an average of 10 percent of consumer expenditure is offered back as a reward in a manner that is profitable to businesses.
“Eko Token is not a lottery, but a cash reward for patronage offered by Lagos businesses to the residents as a thank you for their patronage and loyalty.
“It is a unique partnership with the private sector that will foster a new era of a sustainable relationship among businesses, government and the people of Lagos State. It will also increase the turnover of businesses,” Sanwo-Olu said.
Speaking at the launch, the Chief Executive Officer of Cash Token Africa, who’s Lagos coordinator of Eko Token, Mr. Lai Labode, said that “the key principle we must note is that, every business wants to keep prices low. What happens when yours is on the high side, people are not going to buy from you.”
He stressed that the model is very deliberate, and that each business has taken time to set a threshold.
“Just like buying something of a thousand naira, so, before they set a thousand naira as the purchase price, they must have calculated how much they are going to make from it, and what they would be able to give back to the residents of Lagos.
“So, if businesses raise their prices, they would become less competitive and moreover, they are the ones that deliberately set threshold before they bought Eko Token
“It’s not force, not tax, not a lottery, it’s a reward you get when you patronize the business and meet their business objectives which is their purchase threshold,” he said.
Labode explained further that every business decides what it wants to do.
“For instance, if Airtel says, N1000, MTN may say N1200, so, each business determines what makes business sense for it.
“Practically, all banks in Nigeria would be on Eko Token. What the banks are doing is to create products for Lagosians that guaranty that they would receive Eko reward,” Labode said.
He revealed that a bank MD had already mandated his team to create products specially for Lagos State residents, such that, when they are saving, using ATM, using their products, they would receive Eko reward, adding that everybody wanted to be part of it in Africa first.
“Furthermore, it’s voluntary, that’s why the governor was emphatic by it being business interest.
“Lagferry had already set a threshold, for every N5000 you spend on Lagferry, you would get one Eko Token, which gives instant cash and opportunity to win between N5000 and N100,000,000
“LAMATA has done the same, when you board a BRT you will get Eko Token. We are going to engage others.
“Talking about taxes, market traders, manufacturers to the extent that even before the products get to the street for sales, it has already come with Eko Token
“So, the initiative would cover all parts of the economy,” he said.
The draw, according to Labode, holds every Friday night, when he said people stand a chance to win prices ranging from 5000 to 100,000,000.
“Lagos is a leading model for everyone and that’s why people from other states were at the launch to follow it and replicate such in their states.
“Likewise, countries like Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, Cote D’ivoire are looking at what Lagos is doing to follow the steps being taken by the state in order to share this prosperity,” Labode concluded.
Also speaking shortly after the launch, Commissioner for Employment and Wealth Creation, Mrs Yetunde Arobieke, shed more llight on the initiative.
Arobieke said that, when someone gets to any store and sees ‘Eko Token’ sign there for whatever the person buys, he or she would be rewarded.
“It’s instant cash, and that’s the aspect that really fascinates me because, when you get to a stage, you could convert it to a product, or goods.
“When you get into such a store with Eko Token sign, you are instantly rewarded with cash and that would definitely improve the wallet situation of Lagosians.
“That’s why Governor Sanwo-Olu keyed into it, especially taking into consideration the effect of the pandemic.
“We thank Mr. Governor who saw its relevance at a time like this and gave approval for it,” she said.
Arobieke said that it was a way for companies to say thank you and that it’s sustainable, saying that for buying things from such companies, for having been part of their success story, they are excited that over 200 companies are involved.
“More are still coming to see opportunities, where Lagosians would be rewarded with cash instantly.
“For instance, when you buy airtime with their code, you are rewarded immediately, which is why all networks have keyed into it.
“It won’t inflate any price because we know how much those products or items are sold. Therefore, the firm won’t increase prices of its product, it just a way to say thank you,” she said.