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How Shittu failed to accomplish repositioning NIPOST for digital banking services

Two months after several assurances that arrangements have been concluded by the Ministry of Communications to effectively return moribund Nigerian Postal Agency (NIPOST) to relevance and profitability by introducing delivery of digital banking services across its outlets in Nigeria, the plan is still in the pipeline.

According to the Minister, Alhaji Adebayo Shittu, the provision of digital banking services by Nigerian Post offices and agencies is supposed to take off from May 31st, however, almost two months after, there is nothing on ground to show in any post office or postal agency in Nigeria. Business Hilights can authoritatively report.

Business Hilights investigations identified about three times the minister had said what will happen to NIPOST, the same three time had they all failed.

For example, in April, he assured that both issuance of International Passport and digital banking services are to resume on May but they never up till now.

Earlier on January 2nd, the Minister said intermediary e-Commerce services will begin at NIPOST outlet, however, nothing has happened.

In October last year, the minister said all was set to unbundle NIPOST to six companies so as to raise relevance, still yet there has been no signal for unbundling of NIPOST.

Another policy of the Minister, which may suffer similar feat, may be the announced takeoff of ICT University in September. This is stemming from observations that nothing is on ground for the accreditation of courses and the acclaimed foreign investors have not shown any sign of buying into the scheme which if well handled will will raise manpower development in Nigeria.

it would be recalled that one of the reasons given by Microsoft to divert its planned $30bn data centre investment from Nigeria to South Africa was lack of man power to drive the investment and power epilepsy.

Business Hilights recalls the Minister had at several fora, informed Nigerians of his serious efforts to upgrade the services of NIPOST considering the disruptions and sudden lack of relevance forced on the agency by GSM technology since 2001.

Checks by Business Hilights Economic Research Team (BHERT) across major Post offices in Lagos showed that no infrastructure is yet on ground for the take off of digital banking services which was contrary to earlier claims by Shittu to Nigerians.

Front Desk clerks at Marina, Apapa and Owerri general Post office (GPO) showed that the staff are not even aware of the plans of the government to introduce the digital banking services.

Many of them who spoke to our correspondents only agreed that they are still in the process of giving Postal Orders as the only means of money transfer allowed by law in any post office in Nigeria. They brushed away any knowledge or signs of emerging digital banking services, calming that there has been no memo or training programme or even deployment of relevant infrastructure for that in any Post office in Nigeria.

Only recently, the Post Master General of the federation, Mr. Bisi Adegbuyi, who was on Sokoto on working visit said Federal Government was committed to re-positioning of the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) to become a world-class agency.

Addressing the staff of the Zonal Office of the agency in Sokoto, Adegbuyi said “My visit across the country is aimed at assessing the progress and challenges of the agency in all the zones across the country”.

“This is sequel to our commitment to change the fortunes of NIPOST in line with the three Is, (Innovation, Invention and Integration) which every member of staff is expected to imbibe.”

Adegbuyi said that the management of the service was also committed to redress the physical and technological changes in this direction.

Having hinted that “We must imbibe and adequately deploy technology if we are to truly diversify and stay afloat in line with global best practices,” analysts observed that the claims of the Minister that NIPOST will soon start digital banking services cannot stand.

Adegbuyi further noted that “We also have to decisively deal with some formidable challenges including dilapidated infrastructure, low morale of staff and low deployment of technology,” another indication that the ministry has not done much to upgrade NIPOST technology just to do its job, not to talk about transiting to giving digital banking services.