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Postal Sector Regulation: More Words, Less Action

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One may be tempted to ask the relevance of a pill to a dead horse. Pills are supposed to be corrective measures used to sustain life but which must be used at the right time otherwise the use will become of no effect and consequence if life is totally lost before the application.

The postal and courier sector has left no one in doubt that within the environment where it operates, with a lot of challenges that it needs to be resuscitated. This need has been identified by stakeholders in the postal sector both in the government and in private circle.

It is one demand, Nigerians have been fair enough to voice out what they feel could salvage sector. But what has left most Nigerians confused is why the issue has not been given the urgent attention it requires.

Since the turn of the year, all we have been reading and hearing from stakeholders in the postal industry, whom we look forward to getting authentic information about the position of the postal document, is always vague. Their statements are usually very soon, soon and so on, portraying government’s readiness to appoint an independent commission for the postal sector. From January this year up until now that we have barely 75 days to the end of the year, it is still the same story of independent regulatory body for the postal sector to be made known soon, very soon and plans are underway to appoint an independent regulatory body for the postal sector.

This correspondent has sampled on the matter the opinions of Minister of State for Communications, Dasuki Nakande, senate committee chairman on Information and Communications, Sylvester Anyanwu , Mori Baba, postmaster general of the federation, Dr Simon Emeje, Courier Regulatory Department (CRD) boss, Toyin Olufade, ANCO president and some other stakeholders in the postal/ courier industry and one thing is clear, that all identified the urgent need to salvage the postal industry but they varied in their opinions on the present position of the document or process to appoint an independent regulator for the sector.

For instance, at the recent Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization (CTO) summit held in Abuja, Sylvester Anyanwu told journalists that the effort to regulate the postal sector has passed the first reading in the National Assembly and only being waited for the second reading.

At the World Post Day celebration at the Nipost headquarters in Abuja recently Mori Baba also said that very soon, probably before the end of the year that we might have the postal commission in place. He made the same statement at the Nipost staff award which held in Abuja few weeks ago.

Some time in May too, Dasuki Nakande when prompted by this correspondent on the position of the document to regulate the postal sector, he assured that government was going to appoint a commission for the sector soon. His counterpart in the Information and Communications ministry, John Odey has also been quoted severally giving the hope that government was going to address that issue soon.

Since it is clear that an independent regulator is the best thing to happen to the postal and courier sector, one would have expected that the issue would have been given accelerated hearing and action but this never came to be. We should take a cue from the fact that telecommunications was once part of the post but when the telecom sector was liberalized it became the toast of the economy. The same can happen to the postal sector.

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Coronavirus Outbreak in China: FAAN Releases Travel Advisory

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The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has advised passengers and other airport users to comply with all quarantine procedures at the nation’s airports.

 

FAAN said the advice is in an effort to protect passengers from the epidemic ravaging some countries and to prevent the spread of such communicable diseases into Nigeria,

 

FAAN said that all the equipment and personnel used in combating the deadly Ebola virus in 2014 are still very much in place at the airports.

 

“FAAN has always had thermal scanners in her airports that monitor temperature of passengers and capture their pictures. When passengers walk pass the scanner, it registers their temperature and if too high, they are pulled aside for observation,” FAAN stated in a statement.

 

Recall that recently, a deadly virus known as CORONAVIRUS broke out in China and has since killed six people, with over 300 also reported to have been infected.

 

The virus is highly communicable and has already spread to boarder countries like Japan, Thailand and South Korea.

 

The viruses can make people sick, usually with a mild to moderate upper respiratory tract illness, similar to a common cold. Coronavirus symptoms include a runny nose, cough, sore throat, possibly a headache and maybe a fever, which can last for a couple of days.

For those with a weakened immune system, the elderly and the very young, there’s a chance the virus could cause a lower, and much more serious, respiratory tract illness like a pneumonia or bronchitis.

 

FAAN, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health, have confirmed the adequacy of the facilities at the nation’s airports to prevent the importation of the virus through the airports.

 

Passengers are therefore, advised to submit themselves for routine quarantine checks whenever they are asked to.

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Bharti Airtel, Western Union, Partner on Real-time Bank Transfers to India, African Mobile Wallets

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Western Union has teamed up with Bharti Airtel Ltd. to allow customers to send real-time payments directly to bank accounts in India as well as real-time fund transfers to mobile wallets in 14 African countries.

Users may transfer funds via Western Union to millions of accounts at Airtel Payments Bank, the banking subsidiary of Bharti Airtel, or direct funds through Airtel Africa, which has 15 million mobile wallet customers across the continent.

“The future of money transfer is about customer choice — allowing them to move money whenever, however and wherever they want,” Hikmet Ersek, president of Western Union, told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, according to a company release.

“Our platform cuts through the complexities of cross-border money movement and payments so millions of customers can access their funds in real time in a manner that suits their local infrastructure and preferences.”

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Jumia Looks to Services, Platforms to Halt Slide

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Jumia Technologies, which last year became Africa’s first tech firm to list in New York, will focus on proving it can turn a profit after a bruising 2019, one of its co-founders told Reuters.

Jeremy Hodara said the company aims to capitalise on its payment platform and infrastructure network and to boost revenue from services for third-party sellers on its online marketplace.

“We’re going to be extremely disciplined and very focused on our path to profitability,” Hodara told Reuters at the company’s office in Lagos.

Jumia, which hit a peak value of close to $4 billion, has seen its shares fall by nearly 70% since its IPO last April.

They tumbled after short-seller Citron Research cast doubt on its sales figures, which dealt a major blow to investor confidence.

Late last year, it shut its e-commerce service in Cameroon and Tanzania and halted food delivery in Rwanda. Hodara declined to say whether more markets could face the axe.

Its third-quarter adjusted EBITDA loss widened to 45 million euros, up nearly 27% from a year earlier, and as it burned through cash, analysts warned that raising more could be a challenge.

“Clearly it’s a bit uphill, but I think in the end if investors believe they’re going to make money on the story, they’re going to buy into it,” said Sarah Simon, senior analyst at Berenberg. “But they have to prove themselves.”

Hodara declined to comment on whether Jumia planned to seek more outside cash, but said that as the business scaled up, costs would come down. Improvements to its algorithms were also helping, he said.

JumiaPay, the company’s online payment platform, is a key part of the growth plan, Hodara said. The company is interested in making it and its logistics network available to third-parties, even those not selling on its e-commerce platform.

Jumia has tested this on a small scale, but said widespread access – where, for example, an individual could drop a package at a Jumia hub in Lagos and have it delivered to a friend in Nairobi – could come eventually.

“We have a very significant footprint of physical locations across the continent where we can inject packages and parcels and distribute it. That’s unique,” Hodara said.

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