Automated Systems Has Transformed Garki Market – Aluma
Garki Model Market is the first market on record to commence automated parking systems in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). In this interview with NKECHI ISAAC, the head of automation unit of the Abuja Markets Management Limited (AMML), Mr Ismail Aluma said automation has enhanced security and boosted revenue generation in the market.
Garki Market is the first market to introduce the automated access into the market, what is the update on this system?
The new thing we’re doing now is automating the exit and entrance of the market. It is a complete system because it works with both the traffic and cash aspect of the market in terms of revenue. It gives you zero leakages in terms of any human factor that may arise because 100 per cent machine with servers and the rest of them.
So, the way the system works is that at a particular point in time a person accesses the market, we have gate one and gate two, you’ll know which gate anyone comes in from. It records the time you entered, which gate you entered from and the time you spent in the market up till the time a customer makes payment at the booth. It also records the time the customer leaves the market premises. It gives both the video and image of that particular sequence.
Now the beauty behind it is that it has 100 per cent zero leakage in terms of revenue what come at the gate goes directly to the government no human factors, no round tripping of ticket, nothing then it gives you a sense of security because at a point in time we can actually query cars that come in. it tells precisely at any given time how many cars are at the car park. So, given this sequence I can tell you we have 1000 cars in the car park so we expect to have 1000 revenues.
Does this operation incorporate the shop operators?
This is different from the shop operators. Whatever design we make we actually incorporate the shop operators and shop owners to be part and parcel because they’re stakeholders. So, what we normally do is that we issue them access cards. So that instead of paying N100 for every entry you pay N500 for a month. It is highly subsidized. With our access cards you can actually enter as much as you want and it gives you 30 days irrespective of when you renew.
How secure is this because anyone can claim to be an operator?
It is very secure because we have a complete record of all shop operators or anybody that is operating in that shop that has access card because we have their pictures, shop details, car plate number in our server and data base. Like I said before we have records of how many times any car enters the market so we can actually query any car details in our server.
How will this operation affect your revenue generation?
In terms of revenue we used to keep people at the gate before and give them tickets which they round trip sometimes or they may short change but this system works in such a way tha once you come in there’s a machine in front of you and when you press the machine a ticket comes out. The beauty behind it is that before the ticket comes out there’s a backup printer which when you scan at our pay points gives you the image and time the customer entered the market. So we have control over entry and exit. This eliminates the chances of human factor or round tripping which short-changes the government.
It also ensures security because if for example a person commits any offence in the market we can actually block the card or put a red on the card and it will be highlighted once the person enters the market.
How easy and affordable is the maintenance of these machines, what are the challenges with using IT to secure the market?
We’ll it can’t be termed as very expensive because we just replaced the old ones which went bad. This is a new technology as far as using it in the market is concerned so we cut our teeth with the first one which had a lot of issues. It had cabling issues, human factor in the sense that it was the first time we installed it and then we had issues of big trucks coming in without brakes and damage things in the machine. You know they are imported so we had to dismantle and repair them before it is replaced. Those are some of the few challenges we had then they are also prone to wear and tear so we had to sit down and strategies on how to change the machines for better service delivery. We have used this technology for over four years so the weaknesses we saw and what we learnt during that period helped us to address it in the new one, we made it simpler and more robust and stronger with better features.
How do you tackle the challenge of people who have offices around that use market as their car park?
Well, the whole idea behind the automated system is to do time parking but we do not have the right regulations and legislations in place to enforce that yet. The way it works is that customers is supposed to have a minimum of three hours for example to shop and after that three hours then customers can be charged per hour. The whole idea is to discourage people from staying too long in the market and those that have offices nearby the market from parking in the market premises thereby denying shoppers parking space. But we still need the right approvals to commence that.
Time parking will help the market get more revenue and at the same time make sure that people come in and do just their shopping businesses and go out as well as discourage workers from parking within the market.
How do you deal with vandalism?
We have security personnel in every car park, we have car park managers that manage the car parks. So, we have very minimal cases of vandalism because of high security within the market. We have not recorded any issue of cr theft within the market because you cannot go out without making payment with the tickets gotten from the machine at the entrance. The machine snaps the car when it comes into the market as a security measure and then the CCTV tracks movement within the market.