GOVERANCE

Senate Considers Legislation To Privatise NIPOST

 

The Joint Senate Committee scrutinising the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF-FSP) on Tuesday threatened to recommend a legislation to fully privatise the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) for optimal performances.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, who also chaired the MTEF-FSP joint panel, Senator Sani Musa, stated this when the Postmaster General of the Federation, Tola Odeyemi, appeared before the joint panel to defend her agency’s 2024  budget proposal.

Odeyemi incurred the wrath of the senators when she said her agency projected N18 billion as personnel cost for the NIPOST 16,000 workers across the country.

Musa wondered why NIPOST, whose presence cannot be felt anywhere in the country, could increase its personnel cost from N13 billion in 2023 to N18 billion for 2024.

The explanation of the Postmaster General that the increment was as a result of the recent hike in personnel cost by the Federal Government to federal workers did not change the mind of the chairman.

A member of the joint panel, Senator Ireti Kingibe, attempted to defend the continued existence of NIPOST as a partially funded agency of the Federal Government, claiming that every nation deserves their own vibrant postal agency.

She said: “NIPOST should not be scrapped but should be turned to a revenue generating agency.

“The only thing is that the agency was stuck in the 19th Century analogue operation instead of migrating to digital service for efficient services.

“There is nothing stopping NIPOST to digitalise their offices across the country to offer electronic services for Nigerians, deliver government services at all local government areas and even engage in financial services.”

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Kingibe had hardly ended her submission when Senator Osita Izunaso took to the floor to disagree with her.

Izunaso argued that NIPOST as it is currently structured, should not be encouraged if the country was interested in generating revenues to fund its annual budgets.

Ruling on the matter, the chairman of the joint panel asked the Chief Executive Officer of NIPOST to forward to the committee details of her business plan to reposition the agency to a highly revenue generating agency.

He said: “NIPOST should have been fully privatised before now because nobody is feeling their impact anywhere in the country.

“We are ready to recommend to the Senate in plenary, full privatisation of the NIPOST except the Postmaster General convinces us otherwise.

“The CEO of NIPOST should forward to the secretariat of our committee details of her business model on how the agency would be generating adequate revenues for the country through creative ideas.

“Failure to do this would leave the Senate with no other option than to recommend the full privatisation of NIPOST.”

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