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Minister’s indecision frustrating relevance of NIPOST—Records

Looking for the most traumatized and almost irrelevant agency of the federal government, it is the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST).

Why, since the naming of Barr Adebayo Shittu, the Minister of Communications, findings by Business Hilights show that he has changed plans on how to rejig and return NIPOST to profitability three times.

First, he informed Nigerians that NIPOST will be transformed to a digital bank considering its nationwide coverage and presence in every local government, saying when transformed, it will drive financial inclusion.

When it became clear that bankers’ may have created some hobbles to the idea, the Minister changed plan and told Nigerians again, that NIPOST will be repositioned to carrying out money transfer and related services with the take off of money order service offering.

Only recently, the Minister dumped the Money Order scheme and jumped into inaugurating two committees charged with the responsibility of reforming the Nigerian Postal Service.

Whereas the Committees have five months to submit report, analysts say the latest struggle for the relevance of NIPOST has pushed the struggle till next year meaning that the whole 2017 is gone for NIPOST even though within the financial it received budgetry allocation ofr almost remaining inactive.

It would be recalled that Senator Ben Murray Bruce had at plenary last week, called for the resting of several agencies that are no more adding value to the Nigerian people so that funds will be free for government development projects.

The steering committee for NIPOST revival is headed by the Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, with membership cutting across some Ministries, Department and Agencies of government, including the Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr. Alex Okoh.

The involvement of BPE in the game plan points to a possibility of concessioning the NIPOST at the end of the day.

Besides, the other committee, the Project Inauguration Team, is headed by the Director of Information and Communications at the BPE, Alhaji Aliyu Maigari. Both committees have a period of five months to submit their reports.

According to the Minister, the emerging reform would split the functions currently being performed by NIPOST into two, adding that its regulatory functions would in due time be performed by a new organisation.

Shittu explained that government had approved the commercialisation of the services of NIPOST even though some of these would remain a social function, adding that “When this exercise is completed, this administration would have succeeded in causing a systemic change in postal service delivery in the country in keeping with the Universal Postal Service obligations of the United Nations to which Nigeria is a signatory”.

Industry pundits had traced the near poor relevance of NIPOST to technology disruptions traced to the emergence of mobile phones in Nigeria since 2001. In the last 16 years, number of Nigerians transacting businesses including posting letters and accessing money order has dropped as letter writing is becoming obsolete while money transfer and several other forms of digital payment windows have collapsed the remaining relevance of NIPOST after all.