The current arrangement in which the Nigerian Postal Service is both a regulator and operator in courier business will impede courier business development in the country, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said.
The Director-General of LCCI, Dr Muda Yusuf said this in a statement made available to our correspondent on Sunday.
He was obviously reacting to the recent outrageous increase in licence and renewal fees imposed on courier companies by NIPOST.
He, however, commended the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, for promptly reversing the increase.
He said, “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.”
The LCCI thus urged lthe federal government and the National Assembly to urgently remedy the situation.
Yusuf noted that the courier business has also been a major victim of disruptions foisted by the increasing adoption of digital technology as a dominant medium of information transmission.
Expatiating, he added, that people now “use text messages, social media platforms, etc which has drastically reduced the demand for physical delivery of information.”
Yusuf equally noted that the courier business had been faced with other challenges such as “incursion into the business by many informal and unregistered operators, undertaking delivery of mails and parcels across the country, especially commercial vehicles that ply inter-state routes.
“Escalating cost of logistics resulting from high transportation cost, absence of functional railway system and poor road networks, among others.
“Multiplicity of taxes and levies by Federal, State and Local Government agencies.
“He further argued that the LCCI had a strong reservation 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 per cent 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.”
It submitted that this provision would put too much burden on courier and logistics businesses and make them unsustainable.
Yusuf said, “These businesses are already grappling with 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.”
Yusuf further noted that the provision in the courier regulation which vested 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 needed to be reviewed.
“It borders on overbearing powers with little regard for the interest of investors,”he stated.
“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 per cent 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.
“Indeed, it is an infringement on the rights of citizens. It is a revolting provision which the Honourable Minster for Communications needs to immediately expunge.”