By Ken Nwogbo
Postal service including the courier has been hailed as capable of delivering return on investment if well-structured and managed.
However, there are divergent views on the issue of deregulating the sector to make it a money spinner.
Some opinion leaders in the industry argue that telecommunications and postal service are sensitive to the security and economy of any nation and therefore should be left in the hands of the government to pull the strings of control.
This school of thought also says that the sector should not be totally deregulated.
On the other hand, it has been stressed by the other school of thought on the need to liberalize the sector to make players in the industry reap the bounty potentials of the sector.
They posit that regulation in the postal sector is needed to ensure viable competition to correct market failures and protect consumers’ and investors’ interest even as they picked holes in the present arrangement where the Courier Regulatory Department (CRD), an organ of NIPOST that is also a player in the industry, is meant to call the shots in the industry.
They likened the scenario to a player officiating in a match where he is also an active participant. No doubt, they believe, the impartial disposition of the official will also be called to question.
What is therefore needed in this direction is for government to make a bold step and ratify the document that is supposedly now in the domain of the National Assembly and name an independent regulator for the industry to kick-start the much awaited competition in the arena since postal stakeholders have generally argued that competition is a healthy development in any industry.
Further delay in giving accent to the postal commission document is injurious to national development as the postal sector has contributed immensely to national economic growth, generating revenue in several billions of naira as well as creating employment opportunities for thousands of Nigerians even in the present arrangement in where the CRD is still part of the NIPOST, also a player in the industry.
Without overflogging the issue, postal operators have also cried out loud on the harsh and difficult environment under which they do business.
The environment, they complained is not conducive to the postal business in particular and other businesses in general.
The sorry state of much of the Nigerian roads and networks is holding the postal sector back and preventing it from competing adequately in the global market.
Courier is a perishable product that is time sensitive, anything that subtracts timeliness of delivery has therefore removed the essence of courier.
There’s also the issue of harassing of courier vehicles and motor- cycles by government agencies including the local government officials.
Operators have also complained of extortion at the airports by the police, customs, NDLEA and other security operatives.