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Strengthening Nigeria’s Postal Service For Better Service Delivery

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The postal industry has played a unique social role in providing for the carriage of private letters and parcels across the globe, thereby encouraging social integration and helping families and friends to remain in contact.

In the early 70’s, the postal service in Nigeria contributed significantly to the nation’s national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and engaged a significant number of the populace.

However, recognizing the significant role an efficient, strong communication system had to play as the engine of economic growth, the federal government started the reform of the communications sector and subsequently split the Post and Telecommunications Department into two separate entities, namely the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) and the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) in January 1985.

Despite the split, the federal government concentrated its attention on the telecommunications sector by funding its capital projects while the postal sector was left to operate as a quasi-department of the Federal Ministry of Communications with outdated postal equipment and collapsed national infrastructure such as roads and transport system.

The Nigeria’s postal sector gradually lost its place as a major contributor to the nation’s GDP and in recent past has been at the butt of public criticism over lapses in its service delivery.

To address the myriad of challenges dogging the service and strategically reposition NIPOST for efficient service delivery, the Post Master General (PMG) of NIPOST, Dr. Ismail Adewusi, convened a meeting with the agency’s District Managers in Abuja. Speaking at the for a, Adewusi decried the abysmal performance of the agency over the years, said that the agency’s performance is at its lowest ebb, saying NIPOST has been a butt of public criticisms over perceived lapses such as late delivery, failure to meet up with the set target, loss of items, pilfering, the substitution of items and other associated sharp practices being perpetrated by NIPOST rats, adding this bad stigma has negatively affected the agency in terms of loss of revenue and low patronage.

He, however, acknowledged that some staff of the agency are industrious, pointing out the present condition of service is very poor and disheartening.

To ameliorate this situation, on the assumption of office, he said, a committee was set up to review the condition of service of NIPOST staff, adding that the committee was yet to submit its report.

Speaking on the controversial collection of stamp duty, which was purportedly said to be the statutory responsibility of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the PMG said the minister of Communications and Digital Economy had waded into the matter with a view to resolving the issue, adding the recent oversight visit of the Senate Committee on Communications to the headquarters of NIPOST has rekindled their hope, as the Committee promised to look into the Finance Bill and make necessary amendments with regard to the collection of stamp duty.

To this end, Adewusi charged NIPOST staff to embrace hard work, discipline and eschew rumour mongering.

“We need to change our ways of doing business due to the advent of Information Communication Technology and introduce e-base products. “We have concluded that change is not option and hence we embarked on restructuring, all in a bid to rejig our approach to work, recalibrate the Postal Service that we all will be proud of.

“We must embrace the ethos of discipline, positive thinking, eschew rumour mongering and be open, objective and feel free to make contributions. “Every one of us should see himself as a change agent of a new NIPOST. NIPOST would provide quality service in line with best global practices, an agency that will help the government drive Sustainable Development Goals in Nigeria,” he added.

Earlier in her comments, the Chief Operating Officer of the organisation, Mrs. Lovetto Nnakanwa, disclosed that returns on bulk post ventures for the most of February revealed a substantial drop, adding against the N33 million monthly target, the sum of N9 million was recorded leaving a shortfall of N24million.

“The standard and target on the major products are failing, and with the new Universal Postal Union (UPU), the concept of quality of service linked to Special Delivery Service has witnessed a sharp decline due to the failure of our staff to encourage customers to subscribe to the service,” she added.

She decried that mail items were not delivered on daily basis, while in some districts, mail delivery service was carried out once in a month in postmen walks adding that non-delivery of EMS/Speedpost items and parcels within our advertised time has discouraged many customers from patronizing the service.

“A situation whereby EMS/Speedpost items or parcels are not delivered within 72 hours nationwide but kept for more than one week and up to two weeks is not only discouraging but also disheartening. The Special Delivery Service has witnessed a sharp decline due to the failure of our staff to encourage customers to subscribe to the service. Returns on Special Delivery Service show that few Districts still have customers for the service while the Districts where the staff demonstrate non-challant attitude did not make any returns.”

According to her “it was discovered that the Circulation and Sorting Lists are not well maintained in most Post Offices, while the ones found hanging on Sorting Frames in some offices are faded and covered with dust, addingthe lack of effective supervision of e-commerce staff has led to poor handling and delivery of items.

Nnakanwa observed that the likelihood of NIPOST collaborating with Amazon, the global leader in e-commerce will be a game-changing strategy for the organization and stressed the need for all hands to be on deck.

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