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NCC, NIPOST lose powers as senate retools postal industry, regulates use of emergency phone numbers


Members of the Nigerian Senate at a plenary

The Senate has begun moves to carry out comprehensive reforms in the country’s postal industry and make it more economically beneficial.The Postal Sector Reform Bill, which has reached an advanced stage, establishes the Postal Service Commission as the new regulatory authority in the sector in place of the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST).

Also, the Senate is processing another Bill, which reduces the powers of the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) to regulate the use of emergency telephone numbers as part of the legislature’s intervention in the drive to diversify the economy and make it more viable.

A report of the legislative investigation carried out by the senate recommended that the current arrangement allowing NIPOST to act as regulator and operator at the same time is a serious setback to government efforts to revive the economy and take it out of recession.

Chairman of Senate Committee on Communications, Gilbert Nnaji, who confirmed this yesterday, lamented what he observed as “the erosion of public confidence in the country’s postal system,” pointing out that the waning confidence was on account of the inability of NIPOST to deliver on virtually all statutory obligations, including basic and core postal services.

On the Nationwide Toll-free Emergency Number Bill, Nnaji noted: “The aim is to prescribe primary emergency telephone numbers for use in the country and to implement a nationwide system for the reporting of emergencies to emergency service providers.”

Although the NCC had expressed reservations on the ground that NCC Act provided for toll-free numbers, Nnaji maintained that as long as NCC was not living up to responsibility in that aspect, the senate had resolved to give the emergency number provision a legal backing.Senator Gbenga Ashafa sponsored the Postal Sector Reform Bill, while Senator Isa Hamma Misau sponsored the Toll-Free Bill.

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