23 December 2012

Nigeria: We Will Reposition Nipost to Be a Major Player - ICT Minister

The Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, has said that the ministry is currently working with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to make Nigerian Postal Service a super agent for mobile money.

The minister stated this at the closing ceremony of top management retreat entitled "Meeting Stakeholders' Expectation Today & In the Future" organised by the Nigerian Postal Service in Abuja. The minister said though NIPOST is declining in the area of postal service, the ministry has engaged the Central Bank of Nigeria to see how NIPOST will key into the CBN's financial inclusion strategy by using NIPOST assets across the length and breadth of the country to offer services to everybody irrespective of the location.

According to her, this would be actualised through a seamless partnership between the two agencies of government with other relevant stakeholders using their infrastructure to deliver service, which is expected to turn NIPOST into a super agent for mobile money that would offer cheaper financial services.

"I strongly believe that NIPOST has a huge role to play in President Jonathan's transformation agenda. There are many other things NIPOST can do. NIPOST have special infrastructure the banks don't have in the rural areas and so, we are currently working with the CBN to see how NIPOST will key into the apex bank's financial inclusion strategy by using its assets to offer services.

The discussion is how NIPOST will go into partnership with CBN and other stakeholders using their infrastructure to deliver service and to be super agent for mobile money that will offer financial services that are cheaper. We are working on the cost and by early next year, we will be able to know the cost implication. The only area where NIPOST was declining was in postal services which is not peculiar to Nigeria, it is all over the world, where email and social media have taken over the space," she said.

The minister said with the new zeal and strategy to revamp the agency, there are many other services NIPOST can render to overcome its present redundancy and operate as a commercial enterprise.

"We need a lot of work in selling NIPOST to the rest of the MDAs. NIPOST has assets and they can develop those assets and ride on those assets and that is where they can begin offer services not only to MDAs but also to all Nigerians. Nothing is going to happen, if nothing is not done about it. This is not just about retreat, but we will review the outcomes every quarter and assess how far we have gone. We need to start thinking as a commercial enterprise," she added.

She also noted that one of the constraints NIPOST has is that it is both a regulator and an operator, which she said would be addressed with the new ICT bill before the National Assembly.

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