General

Senate passes Nigerian Postal Commission Bill

A Bill for an Act to repeal the Nigeria Postal Service Act and provide for the establishment of the Nigerian Postal Commission passed second reading at the upper chamber on Wednesday.

Leading debate on the Bill, Sen. Gbenga Ashafa (APC-Lagos) said that the Bill sought to establish the Nigerian Postal Commission with the sole and exclusive responsibility for the regulation and supervision of the postal sector.

“It will facilitate investments into the Nigerian market, protect and promote the interest of consumers against unfair practices.

“The bill is not limited to matters related to tariffs, charges and availability of quality postal services,” he said, adding that it would promote competition in the postal industry and protect postal services.

Ashafa said the Bill when passed would further grant and renew licenses and undertake general responsibility for economic and technical regulation of the postal industry, among others.

He added that the Bill would also establish a Universal Postal Service Fund (UPSF) which would harness monies from contributions by licenses which would be 2.5 per cent of their annual turnover.

He said with the current trends in globalisation and digital advancements in all facets of life, there was the need to keep up with the changing technological trends for the benefit of the nation.

In his contribution, Sen. Albert Bassey (PDP-Akwa Ibom) said that the Nigeria Postal Service had “totally collapsed”.

“The repeal and the re-enactment of the Act will bring about a robust postal service in the country and will change the face of postal service in Nigeria,” he said.

Similarly, Sen. Dino Melaye (APC-Kogi) said it was true that the Postal Service Act had not only gone moribund but could no longer meet the technological and scientific demands of recent times.

“Postal service has gone beyond the analogue approach of just posting letters.

“However, I know that the Nigeria Postal Service is undergoing reforms. I am aware that they signed agreement with a company that is partnering MasterCard for money transfer across over 40 nations.

“This Bill will make all these operations very easy, especially when we are signing bilateral agreements with other countries.”

Melaye said it would be difficult to move at the pace of other postal services across the globe if there was no enabling law to certify and guarantee the operations of most international agencies with Nigeria’s Postal Service.

Job Creation

Also speaking, Sen. Stella Oduah (PDP-Anambra) said that postal service was a huge platform that was capable of enhancing job creation in the country.

“Postal agency as in global best practice is a revenue generating agency and so I believe, when this is done, we will have a holistic overhaul.”

She said that the Act when re-enacted would benefit Nigerians immensely.

In his remarks, Deputy President of the Senate, Mr Ike Ekweremadu, said with the relevance of telecommunication and postal service diminishing, there was need to refresh the Bill to meet the demands of the time.

Ekweremadu, who presided at the preliminary, referred the Bill to the Committee on Communications and directed it to report back within four weeks.

Source: Voice of Nigeria