The Federal Government has raised the alarm over endemic corruption in the country’s postal agency, Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST).
Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, who supervises the agency, said the ministry has discovered that officials of the agency have been short-changing the country through corrupt practices.
With this, the minister ordered immediate suspension of cash payment for any of NIPOST’s services across its offices nationwide.
NIPOST has seen its fortunes dwindle in recent years as mobile communications take the place of letter postings. However, the agency has remained vibrant in the area of parcel and courier services.
The minister, in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Uwa Suleiman, said: “Some unscrupulous elements have been taking undue advantage of the cash payment system under the Nigeria Postal Services (NIPOST), to engage in corrupt practices.”
Pantami noted that in line with the anti-corruption agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari and the mandate of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, the Post Master General (PMG) has been ordered to, with immediate effect, suspend all existing cash payment plans within its establishments nationwide.
“The Post Master General is to ensure that all its offices revert to Point of Sales (PoS) and bank teller transactions immediately. The current trend of delays in postal services will not be condoned by the office of the minister under whose purview, the supervision of NIPOST falls.
“The administration of President Buhari is committed to protecting the rights of all Nigerians and will not tolerate any act of corruption under its watch,” the minister said.
Analysis of the company’s revenue generation and money spent on it yearly by government showed that NIPOST generates less than its recurrent annual spending, which is funded by the government.
According to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in 2018 NIPOST generated N7.05 billion. This was N1 billion less than N8.1 billion spent on it by government same year.
According to a Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) report, in 2017, NIPOST generated about N6.9 billion while the Federal Government injected N7.9 billion as grant to the company in the same year.
In the 2020 budget proposal, the government has allocated N9.09 billion for the agency. The amount, according to the proposal, covers only recurrent expenditures of the agency, while there is no fund for capital project.
NIPOST, which currently play as operator and regulator in the courier sector had, in July 2017, commenced the implementation of its four-year reform programme. The reform, titled: “NIPOST VISION 2020 –Embracing the Future Today”, include overhauling the entire management of the organization, diversifying the range of services, turning the component units into business entities and also rightsizing the workforce.
BPE, which is spearheading the move to unbundle the company and commercialise its operation, noted in its recent report that NIPOST as presently constituted is an unwieldy business concern. “Its operations are cumbersome, administratively weak and lacking in strategic business focus.
“Some management theorists advise that large corporations with multi-product lines break into subsidiaries for better efficiency, while leveraging on shared support resources. This appears to be the case for NIPOST. The centralised management structure has ensured that management’s strategic objectives are lost in the maze, while monitoring and evaluation is poor,” the BPE said.