Nigeria’s postal sub-sector has not been the same since the first bill which was introduced by the Bureau of Public Enterprises in 2004 has not been given accelerated passage by the National Assembly.
The Executive arm has in some occasions tried issuing executive fiat to that effect, but that has neither woken up the sleeping giant called Nigerian Postal Service, NIPOST, nor assisted the private players in the industry to meet up with expectations.
Since assumption of office as the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, has expressed discontent with the current state of Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST).
The Minister said he is very uncomfortable with the current state of NIPOST as Nigerians are complaining about inefficient services while most NIPOST offices are visibly dilapidated.
In 2004, a bill called the Postal Reform Bill was sent to the National Assembly through the efforts of the Bureau for Public Enterprises, BPE, the Nigerian Postal Service, NIPOST, the indigenous courier operators and other critical stakeholders.
In a recent interview with TechEconomy.ng, the (former) General Manager of Courier Regulatory Department, CRD; the courier licensing arm of NIPOST, Dr Andrew Ebiloma, revealed some factors that have prevented the age-long institution from contributing as among the top 10 GDP earners for the country, thus:
“It is the Bill that will give NIPOST an elevation; a pride of place to be able to properly regulate the postal industry to regulate. The enabling environment is not there at the moment. The Postmaster General has been fighting for it. And we pray for him because he’s doggedness and the spirit with which he started off on the work”.
What is new?
Dr. Pantami seems prepared to take the bull by the horn. On Friday, February 07, 2020 he chaired a Steering Committee on the Reform and Modernization of the Nigerian Postal Service which was held at Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) Corporate Headquarters, Abuja.
It is important to note that the transformation will not just enable NIPOST become more efficient, it will push the sub-sector to a greater height.
Therefore, the meeting was part of the Minister’s effort to drive a Digital Economy for a Digital Nigeria and position the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) on the part of prosperity in line with the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians, who have taken to the Social Media to voice their discontent with the current state of the postal service.
Dr Pantami listened to presentations made by the steering committee members who recently undertook a study tour of France, China and Morocco and also, a presentation by KPMG.
New Postal Bill will assist in sanitising industry – ANCO President
Association of Nigeria Courier Operators, ANCO, believes that lack of an independent regulator is one of the greatest challenges faced by operators. NIPOST currently plays the role of regulator/player.
In a chat with TechEconomy.ng, the President of ANCO, Mr Okey Uba, said that lack of a regulator has made it an easy entry sub-sector with little emphasis on professionalism.
He said, “Unfortunately, that is the situation we’ve found ourselves. The people managing CRD (Courier Regulatory Department) now are seasoned bureaucrats and know what to do, but do not have the enabling law and facilities to do the job. There have always been plans for a commission to regulate the courier and logistics industry.
“The bill for the establishment of the commission has been passed concurrently by the Senate and House of Representatives and is awaiting the President’s assent. But we have the CRD now. Before the commission comes, are we going to let the whole thing decay? Why don’t we make do with what we have now? The CRD should be provided with facilities to be doing the job pending the establishment of the commission. I must warn however, operators’ presence should be factored in the establishment and running of the Commission when it comes on board”.