By Emeka Aginam & Nnamdi Ojiego
The Postmaster General/Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Postal Service, (NIPOST)  Ibrahim Mori Baba has said that postal sector reform was committed to the procurement of appropriate technology for digital inclusion in the 21st century knowledge.

The Postmaster-General of NIPOST who spoke last week in Lagos during a stakeholders engagement meeting with Telecom CEOs in  Nigeria in collaboration with the Ministry of Communications told the audience in attendance that the post office network is arguably the best platform for achieving digital inclusion of the rural populace in Nigeria.
“We are committed to establish an efficient nation-wide infrastructure for communication and distribution of public interest services for digital inclusion including  basic financial services, IT services, Government services and other third party services on behalf of the whole population and the Nigerian economy” he said.

For a digitalized NIPOST to be attractive for knowledge economy, he said that  attractive postal outlets nationwide would offer  basic financial services including  ATMs, POS, Pension payments, remittances, bill payments, Internet services : e-payments, e-commerce, surfing, e-learning, e- government, and many more.

While calling for adequate  power for effective operations, he said that  VSAT’s communication backbone, 1,500 VSAT’s , 300 VSAT’s already deployed, counter automation, integrated postal system to support front office transactions and back office processes, application software to support postal, financial and other services are part of the capacity building for digital inclusion for NIPOST

Part of the reforms going on in NIPOST, he said is to establish a low cost universal postal service that provides a solid communications medium and link to all citizens,  provide a safe and efficient postal service that is sustainable and keeps pace with developments in the rest of the world,  introduce private sector participation and make the postal sector commercially viable and  create a convenient means of savings mobilization and payments and funds transfer system for the entire country through the postal networkAccording to him, there is currently  new concept of bundling of services in post offices network to provide public interest services including basic financial services: savings /deposits and withdrawals (either directly or on agency basis), utility bill payments, money transfer (acceptance and payment), travelers cheques, operation of giro account, among others.

Changing the phase of NIPOST for digital including , according to him will include  ICT services: internet, email, eLearning, eCommerce, Government services: publicity and awareness campaigns, JAMB, NECO, Retail services: scratch card sales, among others.

He informed that currently 1,064 post offices are operated, scattered over 537 Local Governments, adding that  about 3,000 agencies/postshops operate a small service portfolio

Currently 237 Local Governments, according to him do not  have even one  post office, housing 25% of the Nigerian population At least one or more post offices should be available in each local government area of the federation, he said.


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