By Emmanuel Elebeke
As the seventh National Assembly winds up to pave way for the eighth Assembly, one thing that remains uppermost in the minds of many in the Communication and information sector is passage of the Nigerian Postal Service, NIPOST, reform bill into law.
Although time may not be on the side of the outgoing Assembly to do the needful in passing the bill, stakeholders in the sector are expectant that the law makers would be writing their names in gold in the ongoing financial inclusion agenda of the Central Bank of Nigeria, if they pass the bill into law, given the strategic role it is expected to play in making NIPOST not just a safe a reliable reservoir of valuables but also the biggest bank in the country.
One of those deeply concerned is the President, Senior Staff Association of Communication and Information Union of Nigeria, NIPOST branch, Mr. Imafidom Gabriel, who expressed worry over the seeming delay and refusal of the outgoing seventh assembly to pass the bill into law before the handover date. If passed into law, he said the bill is capable of replicating the magic in United States and Japan, where such bill when passed in 1972 transformed the Post into an enviable public sector entity and biggest bank respectively.
He appealed to the law makers to consider the bill on its merit and expedite action towards its passage into law before the expiration of their tenure to fast-track the ongoing reform of the Post. “The US mail became what it is today from 1972 after the reform bill was passed, prior to then, it was a full government entity but from 1972, the government removed its hand.
“The postal reform bill as it is called, is expected after the passage into law by NASS to empower the NIPOST from public sector postal service and there are a lot of things we can do. For instance we are going to be involved in the financial inclusion drive, in terms of payment, receiving deposits and rest of them. “The biggest bank in Japan is a Postal Service bank. If the bill is given to us, NIPOST will now go fully into becoming a public sector entity,” he said.
Comrade Imafidon, who spoke while presenting two new 15-seater Toyota buses to members of staff belonging to the union to mark Workers Day in Abuja, said the union as stakeholders will soon come up with marshal plans with which to lobby for the quick passage of the bill into law, but maintained that the union is not going to relent in its drive to secure quick passage of the bill to move the sector forward.
“We are still going to be involved. As a union, we are stakeholders to whatever happens in NIPOST. We are going to start doing something, we are going to come out with adverts, to lobby and appeal to members of NASS to facilitate quick passage of this bill. We don’t know if the seventh assembly will pass it but so long as the bill is with them, they might do it and for us we will not give up the fight,” he added.