Minister tasks NASS on passage of postal reform bill
The Minister of Communications, Abdur-Raheem Adebayo Shittu, has called on the National Assembly to expedite action in deliberating, and subsequently passing the Postal Reform Bill, and other related bills pending before it, aiming at restructuring the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST).
Shittu made the urgent call while launching two documents: Restructuring and Modernising Nigerian Postal Service, and NIPOST Vision 2020, and inaugurating a steering committee for NIPOST reform in his office on Monday.
He said Government needed the collaboration and synergy of the lawmakers to deliver on its campaign promises to Nigerians by expediting actions on bills targeted at social reformation of the Nigerian society, one of which is the services provided by NIPOST.
The minister charged the lawmakers to give the bill serious attention, saying: “we will appreciate that the bill is considered expeditiously important to the socio-economic policy thrust of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.”
He explained that the Bill seeks the amendment of all the existing postal services laws, to give effect to the recommendations of the NethPost Consultancy of The Netherlands, and all other interest groups that worked with the Ministry, NIPOST, and other stakeholders in the reforms.
Noting that the reforms are not part of the APC campaign promises, he said he initiated NIPOST’s reposition, one of the oldest public institutions to be widely accepted in terms of efficient and effective postal services delivery, to be socially relevant, economically viable and internationally acceptable.
He said the objectives of the Postal Sector Reform Plan, is premised on establishing a low cost universal postal service that provides a solid communication medium and link nationwide. Others are to provide a safe and efficient postal service that is sustainable, and abreast with developments in the rest of the world; introduce private sector participation and the development of the postal service into a commercially viable entrepreneurial conglomerate. This will create a convenient means of savings mobilisation and payment/funds transfer system for the entire country through the postal network.
To operate on a commercial driven orientation, Shittu said the reform will unbundle NPOST to profit-driven subsidiaries such as; NIPOST Digital Financial Services Limited (PostBank); NIPOST Property &Development Company Limited; NIPOST Transport and Logistics Limited; NIPOST Merchandising Limited (e-Commerce); and NIPOST General Services Support Limited (e-Government).
The Post Master General and Chief Executive Officer of NIPOST, Bisi Adegbuyi, commended the present administration for its determination to drive the reformation process to a logical conclusion, particularly Shittu for his concerted efforts to change the trajectory of NIPOST.
He added that NIPOST management in the interim has tinkered with the reform through certain restructuring steps.“It is in this spirit, therefore, that the new management of Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) crafted this four-year strategic plan (NIPOST Vision 2020, from 2017-2020), to guide the implementation. In considering the contents of the various documents, however, it is obvious that there are programmes that can be implemented in the short term in accordance with government policy, while others can only be implemented in the long-run after the passage of the Postal Sector Reform Bill into law,” he said.
After launching the two documents, the minister inaugurated a steering committee that will lead the reformation process with the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Sonny Echono as chairman, Adegbuyi as vice-chairman, and the Special Adviser, Digital Resources, to the Minister, Akeem Yusuf as secretary. Others include two members each from the ministry (Directors of ICT and Telecoms & Postal Services) and NIPOST; one representative each from the Central Bank of Nigeria, Bureau of Public Enterprises, and Special Assistant, NPOST, to the Minister.
Echono, promised that members of the committee will give the assignment all the necessary attention and seriousness it deserves, and deliver on the mandate of its task in due time.