‘NIPOST challenged by inefficient management, obsolete infrastructure’
• Minister wants implementation of national addressing policy
• Seeks agency’s involvement in population census, others.
For the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) to redeem its battered image, it must overcome its myriad of challenges.
These challenges included an inefficient management structure; low level of investment, especially in Information and Communications Technology (ICT); vast but obsolete infrastructure and facilities; poorly motivated workforce particularly the junior staff, and unredeemed pension payments.
Others are occasional loss and violation of mail items; intense competition from alternative courier service providers; unenviable public image, as well as a dysfunctional internal system.
The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, who listed these challenges, said so many companies are now competing with NIPOST in various aspects of the postal market: not only in the market for courier items but also in the letter and parcel market.
Shittu observed that e-commerce and other counter and financial services have effectively eroded the revenue accruable to NIPOST.
Speaking at the inauguration of the new Post Master-General and Chief Executive Officer, Bisi Adegbuyi, the minister said the Nigerian Postal Service Act of 1992 gives exclusive rights of mail handling to NIPOST for all postal articles below 500 grams.
“However, today NIPOST is contending with stiff competition from private operators. I understand there are more than 200 courier companies legally licensed and many more illegally operators active in the postal sector,” he stated.
Shittu said these foregoing challenges therefore makes reform urgent and inevitable to deliver on the promises for a new and efficient NIPOST; in order to restore the public confidence in the country’s postal system as well as ensure that NIPOST delivers on its statutory obligations.
According to him, working closely with the new management of NIPOST, which will be further restructured in the coming days- the ongoing reform activities by the Ministry of Communications will ensure that postal services are available to all citizens of the country no matter where they are at affordable cost and in a timely and efficient manner.
Shittu said this is in addition to creating an enabling and competitive environment where independent regulation will thrive and also allow for broadening the scope and depth of services, including productive financial services as agent banking, savings mobilisation, payment and funds transfer system for the entire country through the vast and expanded postal network, in well over 2,500 locations across the country.
According to Shittu, the Federal Government intends, to align the postal sector with global developments in ICT and electronic commerce; clearly institutionalising commercial practices in the sector in collaboration with private and institutional investors.
For the advancement of NIPOST, Shittu said the Ministry of Communications will be responsible for policy formulation while sector regulation will be undertaken by the proposed National Postal Commission (NPC), adding that public postal operations will be handled by NIPOST.
The minister said the designation of NIPOST as the Public Postal Operator is to fulfill the Universal Service Obligation (USO) of Nigeria, by maintaining and extending a nation-wide postal network and for the provision of affordable and reliable quality public interest services such as basic financial services, IT services and government services.
According to him, the establishment of a Universal Postal Services Board will have important function of making appropriate recommendations to the government on Universal Postal Services development policies.
“These key provisions for the Postal Sector Policy have been incorporated in the harmonised Information Communication Technology (ICT) Sector Strategy Plan 2016-2020 which was produced by the Federal Ministry of Communications,” he stated.
The minister explained that NIPOST needed to stimulate postal services once again in Nigeria. He noted that at the moment, the letter writing culture is dying, as such, “you have to establish delivery standards, retail service standards, quality control and ensure compliance and communicate the standard to all customers in order to boost consumers’ confidence.”
Charging the new management of NIPOST, Shittu said the implementation of the National Addressing Policy has become very critical; stressing that as obtained in more organised societies, there is need to bring some sanity to the numbering of all kinds of buildings, especially in the urban and semi urban settlements.