By Yinka Kolawole
Lagos Chamber of commerce and Industry (LCCI) has faulted the framework which makes Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) both a regulator and operator in the courier service industry in Nigeria, noting that it negates the Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) policy of the federal government.
Director-General, LCCI, Mr Muda Yusuf, stated this in a statement made available to Vanguard on Sunday.
Recall that an increase in licence and renewal fees recently imposed on courier companies by NIPOST was greeted with outrage by stakeholders, prompting Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, to reverse the increase.
Yusuf stated: “A framework in which NIPOST is both a regulator and operator is detrimental to the development of the courier business in the country.
“This is inconsistent with best practice principles of business regulations globally. Currently, NIPOST is vested with powers to regulate its competitors. This arrangement is unfair, inequitable, and inherently repressive. It is a negation of the ease of doing business policy of the Federal Government and inconsistent with the extant competition law of the federal republic of Nigeria.
“We, therefore, urge the federal government and the National Assembly to urgently remedy the situation.
“LCCI has strong reservations over a provision in the courier regulation guidelines which prescribes that “an operator of courier and logistics services shall contribute a sum equal to 2% of its total annual revenue to the Postal Fund which sum shall be used for postal development and delivery of postal services in rural and underserved areas.” We submit that this provision will put too much burden on courier and logistics businesses and make them unsustainable.”
The LCCI DG further noted that the logistics businesses were already grappling with a multitude of taxes and levies in the course of their daily operations. “We request that this provision be expunged immediately in the interest of investments and investors in the courier and logistics sector of the Nigeria economy.
“The provision in the Courier regulation which vests the Minister with powers to compel any licensed courier and/or Logistics Services Operator to undertake free delivery service for the purpose of Universal Postal Service Obligations/or any Social Service Delivery in National Interest needs to be reviewed. It borders on overbearing powers with little regard for the interest of investors.
“This provision will undermine the confidence of investors in the courier and logistics business and should be immediately be repealed. It is a negation of the efforts of the federal government to attract investment, create jobs and grow the economy,” he added.
“Also of concern is the provision in the Courier regulation which stipulates that: “All courier items/articles such as Right Issues, Shares Certificates, Statement of Accounts, Cheques, Letters or Offer documents, etc weighing below 0.5kg brought to a Courier/Logistics service operator shall be recorded and referred to the nearest Post Office of the Nigerian Postal Service for processing and delivery.
Failure to do so will attract payment to Nigerian Postal Service of a penalty of 90% of the amount charged on the item by the erring Operator.”
“Again, this is an unfair provision. The citizens should not be compelled to patronise NIPOST against their will, irrespective of the size or weight of the items.”