…Targets 52m unbanked Nigerians
…Dragged to court over Stamp Duty
By Emmanuel Elebeke

The Nigerian Postal Service, NIPOST on Thursday unveiled an electronic debit card called (Postal Service Debit Card) to fast-track financial inclusion plan of the Federal government.

The agency also unveiled its Agency Banking platform and Twenty Seven Courier service vehicles to boost Nigeria’s digital economy.

Unveiling the services, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Pantam said the initiatives were memorable in that it is impossible for any economy to be transformed without digitization.

The minister said, the initiatives when fully deployed into the digital economy strategy will improve ease of doing business, improve transparency and fight corruption.

Pantami, also at the unveiling said the products would help NIPOST Key into e- governance and a sustainable digital economy.

According to him, the unveiled products will help NIPOST activities align with e-government and set ease of doing business in motion as alternative banking platform.

“We are in the process of digital transformation, transformation will not be possible without digitalization.

“What we are doing today is to ensure that NIPOST is digitalized so that they will deliver in their mandate by Law.

“We are not agitating that NIPOST’s Debit card must replace our other debit cards but rather an alternative banking platform. Most importantly, this service can be used online and offline. It is complimentary and providing other alternatives, particularly to the people living in unserved and underserved environments.

“NIPOST exist in so many places where other banks will not exist in Nigeria, because the service is in every local governments. We want to leverage on that, and ensure we use NIGCOMSAT to provide internet connectivity all over the country in places where there is no ATM machines and banks, and that will be an alternative for the underserved communities.”

Continuing, the Minister said, “There are many economic impact, because when you simplify financial transactions for citizens, you enable them to spend more at the comfort of their homes. Financial transactions have been increasing globally, and this transactions leverage on digital technologies to do.

Pantami, who commended NIPOST management for its hardwork, encouraged them to continue to put in the hard work in driving the FG’s digitization agenda.

Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Post Master General (PMG)/CEO, NIPOST Dr. Ismail Adewusi said the occasion marked another opportunity to reposition the agency’s services in line with the global best practice.

The PMG said the launch of the electronic debit card is aimed at bringing the 52 million unbanked Nigerians into the financial inclusion fold.

The card according to him relies heavily on biometric information of the user like finger print which means it can work online and offline.

The NIPOST boss said he
inherited Seven zones and 108 districts, upon assumption of office two years ago, which were running on high operating costs.

“Upon my resumption 2 years ago, I met the with the management and we made a serious appraisal of the post, including among others, tinkering with the operating structure and reintroducing states territorial management structure under the direct supervision of coordinating directors operating.

“This is, however, all geared towards reducing operating costs, increasing the revenue base and rejuvenating the system with a view to restoring public confidence,’’ he said.

The NIPOST boss said two subsidiary companies were created out of the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) in the last two years, namely: the NIPOST Property and Workshop Ltd and the Transport and Logistics Ltd to realise the goal of the ongoing reform of NIPOST.

According to him, “We equally created the Stamp Denotation and Authentication Department, following the amendment of the Finance Act 2020 which restores the mandate of NIPOST to produce adhesive postage stamps for the purposes of authenticating duties or fees.’’

For the agency banking platform which is POS (point of sale) based, he said “it is a multi-teller banking system and all products and services are in line with Universal Postal Services standards and are available in all NIPOST offices nationwide.”
Adewusi, who faulted the position of the FIRS on Stamp Duty collection said the revenue agency has taken the matter to court for judicial interpretation and sought for Minister’s support.
In her own, the chairman, NIPOST Governing Board, Barr. Maimuna Abubakar, “From the onset, the Board was convinced beyond measure that innovation and reinvention must be at the center of every postal service business strategy.

“With that in mind, our consuming passion has been to create a smart post office that will appeal to millennials, who are the most immediate heirs of our achievements, to key into and own.

“Innovation to us as a Board is not only attaining automated postal system but it is about physical, virtual and financial postal service,” she said.

High point of the event was the commissioning of 27 logistics vehicles in partnership with Speedaf Express, an international logistics company, which is expected to cater to e-commerce and speedy delivery of logistics all over the country.

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