By PHILIP IKPONKO, Abuja –
Two major agencies under the federal Ministry of Communications & Digital Economy are set to flout an e-fulfillment centre for e-services, e-commerce, e-governance and e-agriculture.
They are the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) and Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), which have already indicated their readiness to put pen to paper to produce a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that would spell out the modalities for the proposed e-centre.
This was the outcome of a parley during a visit by the NIPOST management to the NCC’s headquarters on Wednesday in Abuja.
According to the Post Master-General (PMG), Mr Ismail Adewuyi, the visit to the NCC was meant for NIPOST to seek partnership, interventions and to also tap from the synergies that existed between the two agencies.
He said it was important for the two organisations to collaborate efforts in the area of expanding broadband penetration, particularly in the rural communities, where the NIPOST had existing presence in order to improve and ease their duties.
Adewuyi said his organisation that was interested in setting up a transport and logistics company that would serve the purpose of moving mails, parcels and to leverage on its properties within the country in order to add value and to ensure that the agency contributed to the nation.
According to the PMG, one of the major areas NIPOST wanted to optimise was the post office bank, which he said was a big business, adding that it was an active government financial inclusion strategy that would boost the economy of the country.
Adewuyi said: “In Nigeria we are still largely under banked especially in the rural communities where we have post office reach. We want to take many out of poverty.
“We want to contract the excess capacity we have and service the people at large in the country.
“In the world at large we now have many postal services not only sending mails but auxiliary services around the globe.
“We want to find a way to tap into the symbiotic relationship that we all have in common as a parastatal agency under the ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.
“For us, our agency is going through a lot of transformation at this point so there cannot be any better time to seek for this kind of partnership than now.”
Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, in response, the two agencies shared common interest the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), adding that his commission was making efforts to reach amicable resolution between the banks and the telecommunications operating companies.
He also said that the commission signed an MOU with the CBN in order to reduce the number of Nigerians excluded from joint financial services to only 20 per cent.
Danbatta called for more awareness of campaign to educate Nigerians about the new NIPOST and also called for continuous collaboration among agencies under communications.
He expressed concern about the difficulties that NIPOST went through and commended the PMG and the management board for bringing innovations to the agency.
“We hope we can raise the financial inclusion penetration to 80 per cent. It is about 60 per cent at the moment.
“On the USSD issue, we need to get permission from the Minister who issued that important pronouncement on behalf of the government that the USSD service should be suspended.
“We have written to the Minister making a very strong and convincing statement to revisit so that financial inclusion penetration is not retarded through the sanction,” he said.
(With additional report from NAN)