The 291 registered courier operators in Nigeria have told the federal government to either extend the yearly renewal of their operational fees from one-year to a three-year period, or reverse to the initial fee of N250, 000 per annum.
The operators lamented the high cost of the yearly renewal of their license fees, which is currently pegged at N500,000, insisting that the fee was killing and putting them out of business.
The courier operators were also calling for the speedy passage of the bill that would establish an independent courier commission, which is before the National Assembly. They also wanted state governments to revisit the ban on motorbikes, popularly called Okada. They explained that the ban had adverse effect on their businesses since they use motorbikes for mail deliveries.
The operators spoke in one voice at the Third Nigerian Courier Summit that was organised by the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) in Lagos.
Managing Director, Big Courier Limited, Mr. Abu Ahmed, while expressing the views of courier operators at the summit, said courier business remained lucrative and capable of generating millions of jobs.
He therefore called on the government to revisit most of its policies on courier operations, in order to position the industry for global competition.
Several other operators that spoke at the summit, blamed the travails of the courier sector on government, in the area of multiple taxation, and high cost of yearly renewal of licence fees, which they said, were posing serious threat to the survival of courier operators.
They complained that state governments are imposing multiple fees on courier operations and they want governments to streamline their tax collection process across states. The operators frowned on a situation where they pay the same tax as soon as they move from one state to another, and called for the intervention of the federal government on the issue of multiple taxation.
The Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, who was represented at the summit by the Director, Post and Telecoms, Mr. John Ayodele, said: “The role, which the courier industry plays and will continue to play in the socio-economic development of countries, cannot be over-emphasised. According to her, apart from facilitating domestic and international trade, the industry remained a great employer of labour, especially for youths of all categories.
She promised that government would do every thing possible to promote courier business in the country.
“The present administration under the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan is leaving no stone unturned to create an enabling environment for business enterprises to thrive,” Johnson said.
Addressing the issue of independent regulatory commission that should be outside the control of NIPOST, the Postmaster General of the Federation, Ibrahim, Mori Baba, said the current courier regulation by the Courier Regulatory Department (CRD) of NIPOST, had remained a huge burden on NIPOST, since it has its own courier operation, the EMS Speed Post, to manage.
He said NIPOST was fully in support of an independent regulatory commission as it is done in other countries of the world. He promised to table the resolution of the summit before the federal government, to expedite action on all resolutions reached at the summit
Chairman of Silverbird Group, Mr. Ben Murray Bruce, who was the guest speaker at the summit, re-emphasised the need for independent postal regulator, insisting that it would promote and ensure the implementation of the Universal Service Obligation (USO) of government, as recommended by the Universal Postal Union (UPU).