NIGCOMSAT, NIPOST fight for relevance with rural broadband service rollout
Investigation by National Daily has revealed that two hitherto moribund agencies of the federal government under the ministry of Communications, NigComSat Limited and Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) have formed a partnership that will up their relevance in Nigeria.
To this end, both agencies have concluded plans for the provision of broadband services to rural communities across the country.
National Daily gathered that the new deal has gotten the Minister’s nod. Whereas NigComSat will deliver broadband services, the NIPOST will serve as access outlets with its spread across the country.
Before now, the Minister of Communications, Barr Adebayo Shittu had told Nigerians that his leadership is working on transforming NIPOST to a digital banking service delivering entity but the idea seemed to have been dumped as nothing is heard about it again.
Rather, the ministry recently wheeled the agency to being delivery of digital money order services which according to investigations by National Daily is being hampered by poor publicity, infrastructure scarcity in several Post offices and current poor demand for postal or money order.
Analysts say several digital payment platforms have rubbished relevance of money order which is known for strenuous documentation and long process.
Explaining the new partnership, Head of Media Relations Unit at NigComSat Limited, Mr. Stephen Kwande, disclosed that the Nigerian Communications Satellite constructed by a Chinese firm, Great Wall Industry Corporation of China – NigComSat-1R – will be deployed for this service while NIPOST outlets across the country will serve as the contact centres for the service.
The service is also expected to help NIPOST in the rollout of a number of services aimed at financial inclusion of un-served citizens in rural communities across the country.
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Kwande disclosed further that “NIGCOMSAT Limited and the NIPOST have set in motion efforts to ensure that broadband penetration in the country is achieved through the deployment of NigComSat-1R services while using NIPOST infrastructure all over the country.
“This development came on the heels of a top management meeting held between the two agencies under the auspices of the Ministry of Communications at the corporate headquarters of NIPOST.
“Among the areas of collaboration is the Federal Government policy on broadband penetration, which is expected to propel the broadband access seamlessly through NIPOST infrastructure spread all over the country to ensure its success.”
“The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of NIGCOMSAT Limited, Abimbola Alale, who led top NIGCOMSAT management to the meeting emphasised that the broadband penetration initiative of the Federal Government should effectively use NIPOST facilities since the rural populace can be reached through them.”
However, National Daily gathered that several Post offices in Lagos, Abuja and Owerri showed that many of the staff are yet to be aware of the new idea on both NIPOST and NigComSat. This was exactly the same way several Post office workers reacted when the Minister in 2016, announced that the agency will be integrated with digital banking services to remain relevance in modern scheme of things in Nigeria.