Why FG should privatise NIPOST

Why FG should privatise NIPOST

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 2:40 pm

Adegbuyi: partial commercialisation would make NIPOST generate more funds and ensure optimal service delivery to the citizenry.

Perpetua Onuegbu, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

Economists believe that privatisation of public enterprises repositions them for efficient service delivery.

They observe, however, that while Nigeria has the potential to turn its economy around by attracting more foreign local and foreign investors via privatisation, most enterprises controlled by government are not performing as they ought to do, citing the case of Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST).

According to them, in developed economies, privatisation is the heart beat of their economic actvities because most enterprises generate profits.

Therefore, Nigerians note that if the Federal Government can make (NIPOST) independent of its control by commercialising it, the public will welcome the development.

Most opinion givers also believe that it has been long overdue for government to relinquish its hold on NIPOST, observing that the agency is falling short of expectations of Nigerians.

In apparent response to these views, the government recently approved a partial plan for the privatisation of the agency, setting up a committee to look to the possibility of its full commercialisation.

In his speech, Mr Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communications, said in Abuja recently at an event that the partial commercialisation of NIPOST was in line with the Second Schedule Part 1 Section 6 of the Public Enterprises Privatisation and Commercialisation Act 1999.

He, nonetheless, said some of its services would reflect policies and economic interventions from government.

“I am aware that the National Assembly is about to pass a bill on the Nigerian Postal Commission, which set out to establish a regulator for the nation’s postal sector.

“In this regard, government wishes to separate what hitherto had been the dual functions of NIPOST as a regulator and operator at the same time.

“When passed into law, NIPOST will concentrate on its function as an operator in Nigeria’s postal system in addition to the new institution we are to create.

“Hence the need for reforms so that it can make its pitch for a share of the now deregulated postal market,’’ Shittu said.

According to the minister, when the committee completes its assignment, the present administration will have succeeded in causing a systematic change in postal service delivery in the country.

“This is in line with the Universal Postal Service Obligations of the United Nation which Nigeria is a signatory,’’ he observed.

Shittu noted that it was the desire of the Federal Government to transform NIPOST to a strong corporate brand and solid commercial enterprise that could compete in the postal market.

“Our aim is to implement the restructuring and modernisation of NIPOST in a manner that is consistent with relevant national policies, laws and international best practices.

“It is also to make NIPOST to effectively run in the post restructuring and modernisation era by introducing commercial viability and customer attractiveness to its operations while still discharging the social services expected of a government agency.

“The aim is to introduce a regulator — Nigerian Postal Commission — that will ensure professional, efficient and effective postal services in the country.’’ he said.

Shittu said the members of the committee had been carefully selected based on competence and professionalism.

He urged the committee members to consider the assignment as cardinal to national development that required unflinching commitment and zeal.

Similarly, Mr Alex Okoh, the Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), said the National Council on Privatisation approved the setting up of the committees on Oct, 31, 2017.

He said the committee was set up to drive the postal sector reforms, restructuring and modernisation.

“With the approval, the bureau realises that it has been saddled with a great task that must be delivered with optimal results.

The National Council on Privatisation has also appointed a project delivery team, comprising high-level technocrats and professionals.

According to Okoh, the team is expected to act as the creative engine room to process documents for the ease of reference for the steering committee.

In his view, Mr Adebisi Adegbusi, the Post Master-General of the Federation, said the partial commercialisation would make the agency generate more funds and ensure optimal service delivery to the citizenry.

“There is so much to be gained from diversifying our products going by the present trend and there is so much to be gained from this transformation.

“With all the strong political support we are getting from the Federal Government and the parliament, they have demonstrated their total commitment and readiness to pass laws that will diversify the productive space of this country and ensure that the postal revolution is achieved.

“As we stand to meet the United Nations Development Goals, we should not forget that the postal infrastructure as the enabler of inclusive development and a key platform for delivering public services is important to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.

“So, NIPOST is introducing International Postal Service Track and Trace System, Mobile Electronic Stamp, Address Verification System and financial inclusive services.

“All these are to ensure that the post meets current demands of customers and to make the post viable with the collaboration of other government agencies such as the Central Bank of Nigeria and the private sector,’’ he said.

Corroborating Adegbusi’s viewpoint, Mr Bright Obiakor, a post service expert, said commercialisation of NIPOST would make it very viable and most productive agency for the government.

“In terms of facilities and property, NIPOST is one agency that has an edge over other agencies of the government.

“Sometimes ago, it went to collaboration with online marketers for the dispatching of bulk parcels because it has the means to do so, with its commercialisation reform, NIPOST now has all it needs to fly.

“So, kudos to the government for taking this great step in energising NIPOST as we expect to see a more vibrant NIPOST with better products to offer customers.

Irrespective of the government’s intervention to make NPOST vibrant, concerned citizens advise its management to justify the effort of the government and stakeholders at strengthening the agency.(NANFeatures)

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