‘Investors Yet to Know Potential of Courier Business in Nigeria’

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Emma Okonji

The Assistant Postmaster General and Head of Courier Regulatory Department (CRD) of the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST), Dr. Simon Emeje has said that both local and foreign investors are yet to understand the huge potential in courier business in Nigeria, hence their reluctance to invest in the sector.

Emeje, who made the disclosure in Lagos recently while speaking on the need to sanitise the Nigerian courier industry, said the sector over N300 billion in assets, and capable of contributing immensely to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country, if adequate attention is given to the sector by government.

He said the sector had been neglected for too long by government, hence investors cannot see the benefits of the sector.

Citing the long-term clamour for independent courier regulatory body for the sector by Nigerians, which the federal government is yet to consider as important, Emeje said Nigeria is one of the few African countries that do not have independent regulatory courier body, a situation, he said is adversely affecting the prospects and values of the industry in the eyes of investors.

According to him, CRD is a department of NIPOST that oversees courier regulation in the country, but that its powers are limited in enforcing and implementing policies that will shape the courier business in the country, because it is not empowered by law. He therefore called on members of the National Assembly to expedite action in the process of passing the courier bill that has been in the house for ages, even though the bill had long been sponsored through a private member bill.

According to him, if Nigeria had had an independent courier regulatory body, it would have turned around the fortunes of the industry through policy formulation and implementation that would have further developed the industry to the admiration and attraction of investors who had long been sitting on the fence, undecided about how to invest in courier business, which he said, is making waves in countries where independent courier regulatory bodies exist.

He said: “Japan for instance, had its e-Commerce sector, which includes the postal sector, rated as the largest financial organisation globally. The sector had since broken into insurance, and other arms and each arm is generating a lot of money for the country.”

He also said the United States postal service, for instance, is rated as one of the top 10 big and viable organisation in the US, and that the US Post Master General sits with the National Executive Council to plan budget for America, but that cannot be said of Nigeria.

The only way Nigeria can attract investors to the courier business in the country, is to establish an independent regulatory body, and empower it, Emeje told THISDAY, adding that NIPOST could do a lot, but that there is no independent regulator backed by law to motivate NIPOST into generating more money for government.

Courier business is a viable sub-sector in Nigeria and the world at large, yet investors have not really discovered the potentials of the sub-sector in Nigeria. It is for this reason that Nigerians are clamoring for independent regulatory body. Investors need to know the potentials of the courier industry, and it is the duty of the independent regulator to make this happen, Emeje said.

“There is a current projection that between 2017 to 2020, the global revenue generation in eCommerce will hit over $60 billion. Logistics alone without sales of postal stamps could generate billions of dollars, and Nigeria can be part of the projection if adequate attention is given to the sector by government,” Emeje said.

The courier and postal services can fetch Nigeria a lot of money and I am confident saying this because I have done a lot of research about postal services in Nigeria and beyond, and I have since discovered that one of the sectors that is viable enough to support the federal government is the courier industry, Emeje insisted.

Expressing his displeasure over the non-passage of the courier bill into law, Emeje said it appeared government do not understand the importance of the bill, hence the long delay.
“The process of passing the bill has been bureaucratic and hectic, hence the 6th and 7th National Assembly could not pass the bill into law, even though the 7th assembly passed several bills in one day, towards the end of their tenure, without deeming it fit to pass the courier bill.”

We need the eight assembly to speed-up the process of the passage of the bill into law, Emeje said.