- Ride-haling platform Bolt has laid off 17 of 70 employees in Nigeria.
- The layoff reportedly affected mostly junior and mid-senior employees of the company's Nigerian operations.
- Bolt told affected employees that the layoff was due to the restructuring of operations in Nigeria.
Per Technext, the layoffs were announced and confirmed by Bolt's Regional Manager for West Africa and North Africa, Ire Obatoki, who 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."
Affected staff, however, said the layoff came after the company had promised there wouldn't be layoffs. They were reassured that management would only restructure, create new teams and move people around.
They expressed their displeasure over the fact that the meeting, which they thought was an announcement of new teams, was to inform them that they were being laid off.
Each worker reportedly got a severance payment based on the amount of time they've been working with the company. Employees that have been with the company for a year got one-month severance, two years got two months severance, while those that have been with the company for less than a year got half of their monthly salary.
According to other sources, all employees' severance was capped at one month's salary. Bolt said it has "offered the affected employees an additional three months of health insurance and three months of access to psychological support and a career coach to help them navigate the transition to new employment opportunities."
Interestingly, the Estonia-based ride-hailing platform closed a $711 million funding round at an $8.4 billion valuation in January 2022.
The funding round, which Sequoia Capital and Fidelity Management led, saw the company's valuation double from $4.8 billion. Bolt has over 100 million customers in 45 countries and 400 cities across Europe and Africa.
Meanwhile, the layoff in Nigeria comes after the company's CEO Markus Villig said a few days ago, "over the past seven years, we have built a strong team of 500 people in Africa, and we remain committed to investing into local communities for the long-term.
"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."
As it plans to use the $500 million investment in Africa to expand its operations and provide opportunities for 300,000 drivers, could reducing its workforce in one of its markets affect its operations?