Nigerians have commended the Federal Government on its move to unbundle the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST), saying it will enhance the company’s revenue generation and effectiveness.
They spoke in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan on Wednesday.
NAN recalls that the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, had on Aug. 3 said the Federal Government would soon unveil policies to unbundle the Nigerian Postal Services (NIPOST).
Commenting, Mr Gbenga Adeleye, Head, Human Resources, Science and Technology Cluster Committee, African Union Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) Nigeria, said the proposed policy to unbundle NIPOST for social development and national growth was a step in the right direction.
“As one of the oldest government institutions, I believe unpacking and remodelling it to the 21st century institution by the Nigerian Government deserves commendation and support.
“With NIPOST, if the policies are properly drafted and all processes implemented, so many developmental issues will be addressed such as financial inclusion for women and farmers in core rural communities and make huge impact,” Adeleye said.
He said the government would do well to make Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) a back-bone for a vibrant NIPOST for rapid social and economic development.
“Digital services for e-post, e-commerce and e-government, which are growing areas of opportunities, will increase the relevance of postal services to the changing customer needs,” he said.
Also, a financial expert, Mr Tunji Adepeju, said that currently, the NIPOST has so many companies within it.
“On the aspect of unbundling, I think, it is just to make it an official legal operational system, with the introduction of IT, not many people will post letters again so the aspect of sales of stamps has reduced, even the postal services have really gone down except on some specifics.
“Then, the introduction of courier services also took a lot off their original lines of business.
“And by registration, NIPOST became a regulatory authority for courier companies, which means, they have to be involved before courier companies can be licenced and at the same time they also do courier services.
“I would say the unbundling has been on much earlier, at least to my knowledge,” he said.
Adepeju, who had facilitated training for NIPOST in the past, said NIPOST has property all over the country, noting that the revenue coming from such property, were not well coordinated.
“I was involved in one or two training programmes for NIPOST some years back where we did some accounting, budgeting and all the rest, even handling the property and how to account for revenue used to be a problem before now.
“I am also aware that in some locations, individuals are making money out of these pieces of property.
“But, by the time they unbundle and have something like NIPOST Property Limited, the company will concentrate on all the property scattered all over the country.
“They have an inventory of all these places. Like I suggested to them years back, they should get an estate surveyor to value all the property, the ones that they want to sell, should be sold while others can go on rent or lease.
“This is to ensure that the revenue coming into NIPOST is coordinated and there would be transparency, integrity and accountability in the process.
“To that extent, unbundling it and having a property company to manage their assets would be a good one,” he said.
Adepeju said that for bulk services, which is delivery of bulk items, NIPOST already has a unit that handles it and that goes along with the transport unit.
He said it would be nice one if they unbundle and have, both the delivery of bulk items and transport outfit together to run on commercial basis.
“NIPOST also has a training centre in Benin and it is a large expanse of land with various buildings and facilities there.
“It also has its own furniture outfit where they make furniture in-house, at least, most of the furniture at the training centre were produced by the NIPOST staff.
“We were informed during the training programme that they were even ready to produce furniture for schools, hospitals and the rest.
“If they really unbundle, that furniture outfit can be upgraded to a full fledged company and compete with other furniture outfits in Nigeria with NIPOST making a lot of money to the coffers of the country,” he said.
According to him, looking at the microfinance aspect, NIPOST is all over, even, in the smallest hamlet or village.
“With technology, the NIPOST Microfinance will do better than quite a number of the private ones, but the management has to be commercially oriented.
“This will ensure that even the disbursement of the Federal Government grants such as the N5, 000 and N10,000 for social investment can be given out through this Microfinance bank.
“It is just a matter of having an account there. The government or whoever is giving out the money will pay directly into the recipient’s account through NIPOST Microfinance bank in the remotest village and the recipient can go to the bank and withdraw.
“So, unbundling, NIPOST and making it private commercial businesses would do a lot of good to the staff, the company and other stakeholders, as well as the Federal Government,” Adepeju said.
In his remarks, Mr Mayowa Olayinka said the unbundling of NIPOST would enhance full optimisation of its potential.
Olayinka said: “Technology has redefined every sphere of human endeavour and that include NIPOST operation.
“Hopefully, the unbundling would help to maximise the potential of the company and also open a new vista of opportunities that technology offers if embraced.”