Nigeria: Chamber of Commerce Lists Draconian NIPOST Guidelines That Must Be Removed

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has called for the review of the regulatory framework of the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) in the interest of the Nigerian economy, business continuity, private sector development and job creation.

The LCCI Director-General, Muda Yusuf, in a statement on Sunday in Lagos, said that a framework in which NIPOST was both a regulator and an operator was detrimental to the development of courier business in the country, and inconsistent with best practices globally.

He said the LCCI had strong reservations, particularly over a provision in the courier regulation guidelines prescribing contribution by an operator, a sum equal to 2 per cent of its total annual revenue, to the postal fund.

This is to be used for postal development and delivery of postal services in rural and underserved areas.

"We submit that this provision will put too much burden on courier and logistics businesses and make them unsustainable.

"These businesses are already grappling with (a) 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.

"Currently, NIPOST is vested with powers to regulate its competitors; this arrangement is unfair, inequitable, and inherently repressive," Mr Yusuf said.

According to him, 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.

"We, therefore, urge the federal government and the National Assembly to urgently remedy the situation," he said.

Mr Yusuf also called for the review of the provision in the courier regulation which vests with the minister, the 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.

He argued that the provision bordered on overbearing power with little regard for the interest of investors.

"This provision will undermine the confidence of investors in the courier and logistics business and should be immediately be repealed.

"It is a negation of the efforts of the federal government to attract investment, create jobs and grow the economy.

"The reality is that many corporate organisations are already undertaking various forms of Corporate Social Responsibility projects without being compelled or coerced to do so."

Mr Yusuf also noted that citizens should not be compelled to patronise NIPOST irrespective of the size or weight of an item as stated in a courier regulation.

He referred to the stipulation that says: "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."

He described it as an unfair provision and an infringement on the rights of citizens and in conflict with the principle of fairness.

(NAN)

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