In what can be considered as a move to remain relevant in the Nigeria’s digital economy pursuit, the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) has ran to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) seeking for means to reposition itself across the 774 Local Government Areas of the country.
This is a move, many industry watchers and analysts believe is an afterthought following the dwindling fortune and relevance of NIPOST, since the rejuvenated Digital Economy quest, championed by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami.
One of the industry watchers, who spoke to ITPulse on condition of anonymity, noted that NIPOST lost the remaining energy to survive the digital onslaught the moment the collection of Stamp Duty fee was taken from it and handover to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
“From the statement that came out of the meeting between the NCC and NIPOST, you can deduce that the postal service agency is seeking ways to stay afloat in the scheme of things, having lost out from the digital economy initiative of the federal government,” he said.
The Lagos based analyst argued that the only selling point, which NIPOST has hitherto refused to leverage is the same thing it is now selling to the telecom regulator, citing the NIPOST dilapidated buildings spread across the 774 Local Government Areas.
“You can imagine an agency of government with a nationwide spread could not find value for such an asset just waking up to the reality and running to NCC in the name of exploring areas of collaboration to strengthen effective delivery of mandates,” he lamented.
At the meeting with NCC last, which was at the request of NIPOST’s management, the Postmaster General of Nigerian Postal Service, Dr. Ismail Adewusi, explained that the collaboration with the NCC is with regard to Internet connectivity and broadband penetration, which he described as necessary, especially in the rural areas where Internet access is limited.
He noted that NIPOST, henceforth, NIPOST will work with the Nigerian Communications Commission to expand access to the Internet, particularly in the rural communities where NIPOST has existing infrastructure.
Specifically, Adewusi is asking for the provision of access to affordable Information and Communications Technology (ICT) services such as e-government and other e-services to the underserved and unserved areas of the country, through the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF).
Other industry watchers believe NIPOST may just be eying the huge fund resting at the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF), an intervention arm of the Nigerian Communications Commission.
This, the NCC, headed by Prof. Umar Danbatta has agreed to help. According to the former University lecturer, as part of efforts to run with the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami’s ideas of championing a truly digital economy in Nigeria, the Commission will aid NIPOST to deepen access to certain government services in all the 774 local government areas in the country.
“We are ready to support NIPOST with a resilient telecom infrastructure that allows the postal agency to jointly contribute to increasing access to financial Inclusion in the country,” he said.
Danbatta believes that active collaboration with NIPOST the way it has done with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), will reduce the number of Nigerians that are without access to financial services.
“The idea is to raise the financial inclusion penetration from below 60 percent to 80 percent by end of 2020. That is the target of the Federal Government and all agencies in the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy are expected to work together, more than ever before, towards deepening the frontier of digital services across Nigeria,” Danbatta reiterated.