Senate has passed for second reading a bill that seeks a reform of the postal industry and to make comprehensive provisions for the development and regulation of postal services in the country.
The bill to repeal and re-enact the Nigerian Postal Service Act, 2004.was sponsored by Senator Oluremi Tinubu (APC Lagos Central).
Leading debate on the general principles of the bill, Tinubu explained that the Nigerian Postal Service, NIPOST which dates as far back as 1852, evolved from an exigency of the colonial administration to a Collection Office of the United Kingdom and eventually, to the NIPOST.
She recalled that as at 1st of October, 1960, when Nigeria gained independence from colonial rule, there existed 176 Post Offices, 10 Sub-Post Offices and 1000 postal agencies.
Tinubu, however, noted that the agency presently has over 955 post offices and more than 3,000 postal agencies in the 36 states of the Federation.
The lawmaker observed that in view of existing realities, it had become imperative for the NIPOST Act to be reviewed to guarantee improved efficiency and service.
“NIPOST has been touted as having so much potential not only for revenue generation but also for impacting the lives of ordinary Nigerians.
“However, the agency’s struggles are well known. With its apparent inefficiencies, advancement in technology and the introduction of electronic mail there has been a decline in demand for traditional postal services, thus necessitating a reform in the Agency mode of operation.
“The Global Postal Industry and indeed, every facet of human life has continued to evolve, thus requiring the Nigerian Postal Industry to rise to the demands of existing realities.
“Consequently, the subsisting Act which has been in place since 2004 has been overtaken by events and is not reflective of the times we are in.
“To set NIPOST back on track, we need innovation, integration and inclusion in keeping up with current trends, and introducing ICT to ensure quicker and more effective service delivery.
“To do this however, it is important to take a look at, and reengineer the Agency’s establishment Act, its powers and its functions,” the lawmaker said.
According to her, the bill covers implementation of a National Postal Policy, encourages local and foreign investment in the postal industry, ensures the protection of rights and interests of service providers in the sector, makes provision for postal services to areas and towns that were erstwhile not sustainable, and promotes small and medium enterprises in the sector, amongst others.
Tinubu disclosed that the Bill also provides for the establishment of the Nigerian Postal Service and designates it as Public Postal Operator (PPO), a corporate body with a common seal whose responsibility includes the provision of Universal Postal Services in Nigeria.
The bill after scaling second reading was referred by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, to the Committee on Communications and was given four weeks to report back to the upper chamber.
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