By Adedeji Adeyemi Fakorede
The reforms expected to bring the anticipated positive change to the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST), responsible for postal administration and services in the country, is expected to commence next month.
The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, disclosed this to National Daily in Lagos, said the reform is expected to be launched in the first week of May.
The expected reforms will include making the about 1500 NIPOST outlets spread across the country offer banking service to aid the country’s financial inclusion processes.
The government is also considering the possibility of the postal office branches offering eGovernment services (like International Passport outlets, which would be equipped with ICT facilities for applicants to fill in their data and get their print outs for subsequent processes).
The minister also informed of the plans to use NIPOST to drive eCommerce growth in Nigeria. The Postal agency will also be involved in logistics services. There will also be NIPOST Property and Development Company, because of the lands currently at its disposal, “by the time we would have concluded all these, we shall be converting perhaps, a dying agency into a reliable and efficient one,” the minister stated.
Meanwhile, in his welcome address at the EMS Operational Performance and Quality Improvement Symposium/Workshop, Shittu said the Federal Government will ensure an enabling environment for NIPOST to fulfil its mandate by facilitating the passage of the Postal Reform Bill, and the implementation of the National Addressing System, among others.
The Communication Minister noted that the dynamism in contemporary postal business environment calls for collaborations between operators to be able to deliver on their mandates of satisfying the aspirations of stakeholders.
According to him, since 1986 EMS Nigeria has operated as the courier and business arm of the NIPOST, with the responsibility for effective and efficient collection, conveyance and delivery of time sensitive correspondence, documents or merchandise both locally and internationally.
He stressed that the role, which the postal service has played and will continue to play in the social, economic and political lives of people in all nations of the world cannot be over-emphasised.
“However, the state of postal services in sub-Saharan Africa is less than ideal. As a matter of fact, we must realise that the postal sector, especially in the continent is at a critical juncture and to put a stop to the drift and downward trend, urgent reform measures are need to be put in place,” he stated.
To the Post Master General (PMG) of the Federation, Bisi Adegbuyi, when he came on board as the Chief Executive Officer, NIPOST was that of a government agency endowed with huge potential. But it was bogged down by bureaucratic bottlenecks and limited capacities for experimenting with trending as well as thriving business models that have stood the test of time in other climes.
Adegbuyi while speaking with National Daily said many postal administrations in sub-Saharan Africa are bedevilled with similar plights with the exception of Morocco, Tunisia, Kenya, and South Africa, which are success stories of ICT driven concerns.
“However, we have taken up the gauntlet to build a brand that is reliable and respectable, a modern organisation that can be trusted. We have made tremendous improvement in quality of service, which has translated into increase in traffic and revenue profile. We have also sought collaborations with experienced partners in the business on a wide range of aspects of postal operations that would further our cause on the journey to postal prosperity,” he stated.
The PMG said that in the realisation of the fact that delivery of mail is the main last mile function of the post worldwide, NIPOST has commenced holistic reviews of mail route networks and strengthening of the Enquiry/Track and Trace systems.
He disclosed that NIPOST is leveraging on the exponential growth in e-Commerce, which offers a plethora of opportunities for greater business collaboration with medium and small scale entrepreneurs. This would go a long way in improving the agency’s revenue base, creating jobs for the unemployed and ultimately stimulating the nation’s economy.
From his perspective, the Director-General, Universal Postal Union (UPU), Bishar Hussein, said competitors are also focused on the growing business of consumer eCommerce market. If EMS Cooperative members ensure high quality of service through consistent reliability and visibility, give customers the value-added features they want, ensure ease of use and right price will deliver a strong value proposition.
“We expect that the next four-year period global EMS (Express Mail Service) market share is projected to grow greater that the market rate of growth,” he added.
Hussein said with commitment to the objectives of the EMS Business Plan, by 2020, the Cooperative members will be able to offer their customers date-certain end-to-end delivery reliability, which will enable EMS to position itself as the preferred network for the growing eCommerce market.