The House Committee on Communications seems to be disagreeing with the position of the Ministry of Communications with regard to the appointment of Postmaster General of the Federation.
This is sequel to the fact that the Committee has canvassed for the appointment of a career staff as the new postmaster-general of NIPOST.
But, Barr. Adebayo Shittu, minister of Communications, had stated that the stringent and prolonged processes in appointing a new postmaster general of the Federation (PMGoF), was to give room for the emergence of a business minded executive to drive the “new” NIPOST.
The Minister had disclosed before now that the new PMGoF yet to be announced by President Mohammad Buhari, is not a career staff of NIPOST.
However, Mr Saheed Fijabi, the House Committee Chairman said when he led the members on a recent visit to the Corporate Headquarters of NIPOST on oversight function in Abuja that career staff who has over years of service acquired a lot of experience and expertise, will be more than qualified to fill the vacancy.
Fijabi called for speedy appointment of another NIPOST helmsman, so that the agency could have a better focus and deliver quality service to Nigerians.
He urged NIPOST to continue to discharge its statutory functions, including the administration of stamp duty.
“The only arm of government that can stop you from administering stamp duty is the National Assembly.
“And this can only be done when the law is amended, but as long as the law is not amended, you should carry on with all your statutory duties, stamp duty inclusive.
“The only area you must steer clear of is the financial inclusion with the Central Bank, which is under litigation.”
Fijabi noted that the sale of stamps was a major function of NIPOST, saying that it should continue to sell stamps.
He said that the purpose of the visit was to identify challenges confronting the agency and find solutions to them.
Earlier in his address, Mr Richard Balami, acting postmaster-general, urged the committee to ensure speedy passage of the Postal Reform Bill, which, according to him, will facilitate an enabling environment for NIPOST to perform its duties.
Balami identified this as one of the challenges confronting the agency in carrying out its constitutional duties.
“One of the most important challenges of the organisation is the delayed passage of the Postal Reform Bill.
“This, expectedly, could facilitate the creation of the enabling environment for NIPOST to measure up with the advanced postal administration in the deployment of its infrastructure and human resources.
“It will also ensure the attainment of financial autonomy to meet international best practices. This remains the only guarantee for creating the needed excellent condition of service that all of us desire.
“Secondly the implementation of the National Addressing System which currently is at the policy level has been approved by government, but modalities for implementation are yet to be worked out.”
On stamp duty, the head of NIPOST called for the backing of the government to harness the potential of the act, adding that NIPOST personnel were ready to put in their best.
Balami gave assurance that the management and staff of NIPOST would give the committee maximum cooperation and support, to enable it succeed in its oversight functions.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Communication said that the ministry’s priority in revitalizing the post is to ensure that whosoever will occupy the position will be prepared to face the business challenges of the 21st Century post offices.
According to Shittu, “NIPOST is a major player in the ministry and the industry and catches my interest. It has a very wide network. In the 774 local government areas in the country, NIPOST has structures (offices) in 550 LGA. The other areas where the infrastructures are not available, you still find NIPOST services been rendered through agents.
“If you look at all of these, you will see that there is no human being in our society that is not affected by the services of the agencies of the Ministry of Communications”.
“Nigerians should expect a new, improved and revitalized ICT industry. For instance, I had a tour of few NIPOST offices. We have an acting Postmaster General (PMG) who was supposed to have retired last December.