Although, operational in the year 1852, when the British colonial masters established the first post office. The Nigerian postal service (NIPOST) became a government department in 1985, January 1st to be precise. This was along with the establishment of the Nigerian telecommunications limited (NITEL).
NIPOST was saddled with the responsibility of overseeing the dispatch and distribution of overseas mail, they were also in charge of philatelic services in Nigeria. They also printed postage stamps of postage tariff and payment of stamp duties.
With the introduction and growth of information technology in the country, there was a fall in affiliations with NIPOST.
With the establishment of online stores like Konga and Jumia, who at the moment are the leading e-commerce centres in the country. There was a perceived rebranding of the organisation to accommodate the distribution/delivery of products for companies like this. This was the case of postal companies in countries like the US were postal companies like FedEx and UPS helped in delivering products for companies like Amazon. Today these companies have stayed relevant due to this earlier decision they have taken. Even though, with the influence of technology, Amazon is trying to implement new ways of delivery through their own distribution channels.
The online stores in Nigeria upon establishment ran their own distribution channels by employing more individuals who served as delivery agents. This was a source of employment for the population in general and leaving NIPOST in their position of near irrelevance.
In 2015, there was a signed agreement between NIPOST and Konga, it seemed like there was a realignment of the paths of achievement by the postal company. The agreement/partnership was supposed to address logistics and delivery issues experienced by the e-commerce operators in Nigeria.
Dr. (Mrs) Omobola Johnson, the minister of communication technology at the time was quoted saying “Through the partnership, NIPOST will be contributing its own share to supporting the growth of retail business in Nigeria”
Unfortunately, based on recent events. This agreement doesn’t seem to have played out well. Konga has still been sending their deliveries through privately owned delivery services.
In April 2017, NIPOST signed another agreement/ partnership with PAGA, a payment solution company. This partnership allowed them to leverage on all the NIPOST offices across the country.
This deal was done on the back of the shared agent Network framework approved by the central bank of Nigeria. The partnership, however, is aimed at improving Paga’s mobile agent money agent network. meaning the partnership will be giving Paga more offices and increasing the radius of interaction with customers.
When asked about the partnership, Mr. B.M. Mukthar, the general manager financial service NIPOST stated that “There is a post office location within a reasonable distance of almost every community in the country today, so we see an opportunity for NIPOST to play a leading role in enhancing financial inclusion for the betterment of Nigeria. For this reason, NIPOST is committed to partnering with Paga and other financial institutions to bring critical financial services such as bill payments, bank account deposits and withdrawals, loans, money transfer and more to be available at NIPOST locations nationwide. We are taking it step-by-step and have already started to see the positive impact.”
Jay Alabraba, co-founder, and director of business development of PAGA said “Our work with NIPOST is simply one of the several big steps that we are leading the industry in taking, to bring financial services to all communities in Nigeria.
The rollout has been on-going since the beginning of 2016, and we are very encouraged by the outcomes so far. The Central Bank provided clear guidelines for shared services such as these, and we invite banks, microfinance institutions, mobile payments providers and others to join us to reach more customers and make the scheme a success. Nigerians need this now more than ever, so we must direct our resources wisely and make it happen. “
This partnership gives Paga access to all the NIPOST offices in the country and also NIPOST staff are also to be trained to perform the day to day transactions for Paga and also mobile money agent operations.
With all these developments going on, the question of relevance comes up, Is NIPOST losing its relevance in the society and trying to make up for what is lost or they are actually taking steps for a great comeback in the future?
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Consumer Expert at Techpoint.ng