Postal reforms bill hostile, might collapse logistics industry

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Chief Operating Officer, UPS, Michael Umoh (left); Managing Director, Fedex, Shola Obabori; Managing Director, DHL, Muyiwa Adesiyoju; President, Association of Nigerian Courier Operators (ANCO), Okey Uba; and Chairman, Nigeria International Air Courier Association (NIACA), Oladipo Akinyele at a joint press briefing on proposed postal reforms bill in Lagos.

Nigeria International Air Courier Association (NIACA) and Association of Nigerian Courier Operators (ANCO) have said the proposed postal reforms bill will undermine the industry thereby leaving the logistics sector in comatose.

According to the duo, the bill, which they say has not addressed their concerns, does not capture their contributions during the public hearings and meetings at different levels of government.

Indeed, the postal reforms bill has reached the second reading stage at the National Assembly. The associations at a joint press briefing in Lagos yesterday, appealed to the government to rethink the bill as they believe that such will compound the unending cycle of problems already bedeviling the industry.

President, ANCO, Okey Uba, stressed the need for the associations to clearly declare their stand on the postal reforms bill currently being passed by the lawmakers.

Uba complained about their declining margins due to the rising cost of doing business, poor infrastructure, cost of funds, access to foreign exchange rate, power and security among other challenges stifling the industry.

He, however, urged the government to consider the peculiarity of the environment in discharging regulatory tactics. Among major grey areas in the bill is the requirement mandating courier operators to remit two per cent of their yearly turnover to the government.

Uba said with declining margins and running cost, the law would definitely run courier operators out of business and lead to massive job loss within the industry.

He said operators are willing to work with best practice where one per cent of net profit is remitted yearly or the government can introduce a two per cent postal contribution, which would be borne by the consignor.

Chairman, NIACA, Oladipo Akinyele, said issues of exclusivity for Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) to handle consignments weighing up to 1kg is worrisome as this could jeopardise small businesses who rely on their swift services.

Akinyele appealed to the government to consider safe and efficient logistics as well as maintain a level playing field to allow for competition and not monopolise that aspect of the business.

Chief Executive Officer, Redstar Express Plc, Sola Obabori, said it was unfair for the government to cancel the license of existing operators on the grounds of reform, stating that the government should consider recertification to keep operators in business.

On the issue of stamp duty, Obabori said with the nature of their business being voluminous, a digital approach would make compliance a lot easier and more efficient.

However, NIACA and ANCO reiterated that the agitation to improve the industry has been a long-standing battle and that as far as engaging the government is concerned, the associations have been very present and open to dialogue.

They mentioned that several letters have been written and that they have had countless meetings without much impact with hope that the government could go back to the drawing board and embrace ideas that would encourage inclusion and favourable market conditions for all stakeholders.

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