A News Analysis by Tolu Aiyegbusi
On Oct. 9, the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) observed the 2020 World Post Day with the presentation of 100 years compendium of Nigeria postage stamps from 1914- 2014.
The significance of the day is also indicated in the marking of the 146th anniversary of the creation of the Universal Postal Union — a specialised agency of the United Nations founded on Oct. 9, 1874.
As fundamental as the roles of postal services are to national development, concerned Nigerians note that NIPOST has not been living to the expectations of the public.
They note that although one of the statutory responsibilities of NIPOST is the issuance of postage stamps, the service needs to explore other areas to make it relevant in the scheme of things.
In view of this, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), assures the public that there will be tremendous successes in the process of NIPOST transformation.
According to him, for NIPOST to be relevant, after the unbundling, it will start the process of automating some of the most important activities of the service in line with the digital economy.
During the presentation of the compendium in Abuja, the minister observed that a bill on the issues of stamp duty collection was initiated by NIPOST and not by any other institutions.
“It was taken to the National Assembly by NIPOST and was endorsed by the minister of finance that NIPOST should collect stamp duties.
“But when NIPOST started the process, other tax collectors discovered that stamp duty is something special and along the process, they went somewhere and hijacked it and in less than 24 hours before the final decision was made, the name of NIPOST was substituted.
“I have written a letter to the minister of finance three times as well as the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria; I hate injustice and I assure you, we will fight for you legally and by following due process,’’ he assured NIPOST management.
Dr Ismail Adebayo Adewusi, the Postmaster-General of NIPOST, noted that the “World Post Day represents an excellent opportunity for postal authorities in all countries of the world to educate government officials and the public on the important and invaluable contributions which postal services make in the socio-economic development of nations.
“To underscore that the post continues to serve as an essential instrument of economic and social development in Nigeria, the Federal Government has embarked on a comprehensive reform of the postal sector to make it responsive to customers’ demands through provision of high quality and affordable universal postal service to the citizenry.
“It is imperative to state that the posts globally are not left out and have faced the biggest upheavals in 2020 since Second World War occasioned by the Coronavirus pandemic but postal operations have equally shown great resilience by changing their modes of operations, to meet the needs of customers during the ongoing storms”.
“NIPOST reform programme engendered a new vision and mission statement for the organisation, which is to provide a thriving market-driven organisation focusing on innovation and the commitment.
“Providing efficient, effective and reliable services with the aid of appropriate technology and a well-motivated workforce; the reform, no doubt, has brought positive changes in our operations”.
He listed the measures that have been taken to improve the quality of service delivery to include strengthening of operatives in the mail delivery services, mail security and the fight against scam mail, quality of mail service test, introduction of financial services in the post, revenue, staff promotion and review of conditions of service.
He also said that NIPOST had been restructured to start NIPOST Property Development Company, NIPOST Transport and Logistics Company and NIPOST Microfinance Bank that have reached an advanced stage of unbundling.
Adewusi said that NIPOST operations would be fully digitised and its infrastructures fully maximised as part of stages of NIPOST transformation.
He also said the service had explored both local and international to boost the postal infrastructure.
“One of the most notable partnerships is NIPOST partnership with Hansa Energy Solutions, a Dubai-based firm, with the goal of ensuring that clean electricity reaches the underprivileged in the society through the NIPOST network.
Adewusi noted that the partnership was in line with Sustainable Development Goals, insisting that the service had determined to use its extensive postal outlets to deliver innovative services.
According to him, NIPOST has, over the years, projected Nigeria’s image and identity at national, regional and international levels in history, economy, politics, international relations, people’s diversities and environmental issues, among others.
He noted that the compendium would serve as a legacy project, promoting Nigerian image home and abroad and provide a medium for education and research and promote philatelic education in the country.
“The compendium tells the true story of Nigeria from 100 years. It is educative, entertaining and informative,’’ he said.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Communication, Sen. Oluremi Tinubu, commended the Adewusi, noting that NIPOST has evolved and with technological advancement “there is the need to reform the agency’s mode of operation’’.
She expressed confidence that NIPOST won’t relent in contributing to the development of the nation, adding that the Senate is committed in providing legislative support where necessary.
NIPOST currently operates mail, counters, financial services, EMS/Parcel, E-commerce and Logistics, Nigerian Postal Institute and Workshop and Properties.
Philatelists observe that the use of stamps is not limited to postage services alone, it also serves as an object of visual communication and to document events for the country’s posterity.
They note further that NIPOST, through the issuance of stamps, has given the public a sense of belonging and helped Nigerians to understand history.
“Our stamps gives us a view of the world from any era because they carry a little information about the history, geography, art and culture of a particular time,’’ Mr Oyeyele Adigun, a stamp collector, says.
Underscoring the usefulness of the service, NIPOST notes that it has kept afloat the letter writing competition for young students less than 15 years of age with over 2,000 entries received from students across secondary schools in Nigeria.(NANFeatures)