By ADEBIYI ADEDAPO |
Barring any last-minute change, the National Assembly (NASS) has concluded plans to repeal the establishing law of the Nigerian Postal Services (NIPOST) and re-enact the law to grant the agency the status of a commission.
This, according to the bill, will allow private sector participation in the provision of postal services.
The proposed bill to repeal the NIPOST Act of 2004 and change the agency to the Nigeria Postal Commission has been gazetted by the House of Representatives and it is expected to be read for the first time this week.
When passed into law, the commission shall be headed by a director-general and executive directors to be appointed by the president.
The commission shall be responsible for granting licenses for the carrying on of postal services, cargo, e-commerce, courier express services, and logistics under this Bill and for the period specified in the licenses.
According to the bill, only public postal operators licensed by the commission shall provide and operate e-Commerce and express courier services and such operators must register with the commission within six months.
“A person other than the Public Postal Operator shall not: operate a postal system or facility; or provide and/or operate postal service, cargo, e-commerce, express/courier service and/or logistics in Nigeria; unless it is registered as a company and holds a license under this Bill. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, a company operating a postal service, cargo, E-commerce, express/courier service, and /or logistics may apply to the Commission within 6 (six) months of the commencement of this Bill to be licensed under the provisions of this Part. Operation of postal services,” the proposed law reads.
The bill also seeks to establish the Universal Postal Service Fund and the Universal Postal Service Fund Board. The Board shall consist of the minister, who shall be the chairman; the chairman of the commission, who shall be the vice-chairman; the director-general of the commission. Others include a representative of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy; a representative of the Federal Ministry of Finance not below the directorate cadre; a representative of the National Planning Commission not below the directorate cadre; a representative of the private sector; and the chief executive officer of the Public Postal Operator.
Titled “a bill for an act to repeal the Nigerian Postal Service Act CAPN127 LFN 2004, and Establish the Nigeria Postal Commission to make comprehensive provisions for the development and regulation of postal services and for other related matters,” the bill is standing in the name of Prince Akeem Adeniyi Adeyemi, chairman of the House Committee on Communications.
According to a copy of the bill sighted by our correspondent, the bill when enacted will implement the National Postal Policy, establish a regulatory framework for the Nigerian postal industry, and for this purpose, 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.
The proposed law is also expected to encourage local and foreign investments in the Nigerian postal industry and the introduce innovative services and practices, in accordance with international best practices and trends.