Nigeria’s Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, has approved new regulations for the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST).
This comes after a stakeholders meeting chaired by Pantami to discuss NIPOST’s new rulemaking process and regulations held on Thursday, March 11, 2021, as disclosed by Femi Adeluyi, Technical Assistant to the minister, in a press release dated Tuesday, May 18, 2021.
These new regulations, Pantami claims, will position NIPOST as a key player in the digital economy, in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a digital Nigeria.
Full details of these regulations are not yet known. What we do have are the names of these regulations, one of which is Courier and Logistics Services (Operations) Regulation, which may seem familiar.
Recall that in July 2020, there was a huge outcry in the Nigerian logistics community against a NIPOST regulation with the same name.
The regulation proposed a hike in licensing fees for every company in the Nigerian logistics space, and a compulsory remittance of a sum equal to 2% of their annual revenue.
It also introduced an SME licence for municipal operators within a state with less than five bikes. In an article by our reporter, Emmanuel Paul, we highlighted several other interesting provisions in the regulation.
Several protests were held, and a hashtag –#SayNoToNipostFee– trended on social media. Eventually, Pantami suspended the implementation of the regulation regarding the hike in licensing fees.
NIPOST’s position as regulator and player, a seemingly counterintuitive role, makes these new directives more interesting. Perhaps, this might be the reason for the second regulation, the Rulemaking Process Regulation of NIPOST.
As stated in the press release, this regulation aims to create an inclusive, stakeholder-led process, taking advantage of Nigeria’s diversity to make efficient and value-adding decisions that engender sustainable growth in the sector.
What does this mean for the Nigerian logistics community? Will there be adequate representation of all necessary parties in this rule-making process? How much transparency can we expect?
The government’s actions would indeed be telling answers to these questions.
Repealing the NIPOST Act
Presently, there are plans before the National Assembly (NASS) to unbundle NIPOST via a bill sponsored by Senator Oluremi Tinubu.
The bill is titled “a Bill for an Act to repeal the Nigerian Postal Service Act CAPN 127 LFN 2004 and establish the Nigeria Postal Commission to make comprehensive provisions for the development and regulation of postal services and other related matters.”
Apart from repealing the NIPOST Act and establishing the Nigerian Postal Commission, the bill, if enacted, will implement the National Postal Policy and establish a regulatory framework for the Nigerian postal industry.
This will supposedly create an effective, impartial and independent regulatory authority and promote the provision of a modern universal, efficient, reliable, affordable and easily accessible postal service with the widest range and coverage throughout Nigeria, Leadership reports
While this seems achievable and might likely answer questions related to NIPOST’s impartiality, we do not know the date of the bill’s enactment.
What we are left with are two recently approved regulations and little information. One bearing the name of a previously suspended regulation and the other appearing to be an attempt at inclusiveness.
Our earlier questions remain unanswered.