Nigeria News

NIGERIA: ‘We have lost over 70 percent of our customer base’ – NIPOST

With the advent of the Global System of Mobile Communication, GSM, the general impression is that the services being rendered by the Nigerian Postal Service,  NIPOST, may have been adversely affected.

The reason for this fear cannot be far fetched, given that most Nigerians now prefer to send mails through the Short Message Services, SMS,  otherwise known as text messages. Saturday Vanguard investigations in Makurdi, the Benue state capital actually confirmed this fear. It was gathered that the advent of the GSM has to a large extent affected person to person letters delivery service.

According to a source who craved anonymity at the NIPOST office in Makurdi, “the advent of the GSM has actually affected person to person or individual letters transactions.We have lost over 70 percent of our customer base in that respect but as for parcel mails, it has quadrupled;business letters are also on the ascendancy.It has not affected our revenue base in any way because this is our best season in terms of revenue generation because people are still sending parcels and business mails.

“Do you know that the market worth of global parcel and mail trade is in the range of over $25billon despite the advent of the GSM; only if we can fully take advantage of this, we shouldn’t have any reasons to worry.”

On the issue of the welfare of staff, our source maintained that “since we are  getting resources on all fronts, staff have no reasons to complain; our salaries and entitlements are paid as at when due and we’re all doing our best to justify our earnings”, said he. However, it is pertinent to point out here that it is  not all glowing stories for the Makurdi territorial Headquaters of the NIPOST in Benue state.

A major feature of most of the NIPOST offices in Benue state is the fact that it’s services are carried out from colonial structures and sometime dilapidated buildings. Another unsavory tale of the NIPOST in Makurdi is the issue of the long abandoned territorial Headquater building which was started over 22 years ago but abandoned after work on the project had gotten to about 60 percent level of completion.The building which is located on Gboko road, almost opposite the first gate of the Benue State University, has become a den for hoodlums and criminals who found it a ready free accommodation and operating base for their nefarious activities.

A source at the Makurdi office of NIPOST told Saturday Vanguard on grounds of anonymity that the building would have provided staffers a conducive environment to carry out their responsibilities and duties to the Benue public “but for reasons best known to the authorities, no one talks about the project which was started during the military regime, it is just unfortunate.That abandoned project reminds one of the sad and unfortunate state of our country, because it presents a clear and vivid picture and replica of the state of governance in this country.

”After expending so much of public funds to erect that gigantic structure, it was abandoned midway, and since then, Ministers of Communication would come and make make pronouncements about the project but at the end of the day, nothing would be done. That is why we are tucked away in this small office that is meant for postal services. It as bad as that, it is as bad as bad.”

Reduced activity in Plateau

By Taye Obateru
Normal activities are going on at the various post offices in Plateau State even though there has been a huge drop in patronage. It was gathered that although fewer people now post letters, the various post offices still run normal work schedules with staff on hand to attend to customers.

Unlike its neglected NITEL counterpart, some attention appeared to have been paid to maintenance. Saturday Vanguard observed that some of the post offices were recently given a massive facelift . For example, the one along Goodluck Jonathan Road (former Zaria Road) was re-roofed and restructured while the Anglo Jos Post Office also got some face lift.

A NIPOST staff who declined to be named, said the renovation of the post offices had provided a better work environment for them for which they are happy. He confirmed that the volume of postage of letters had dropped since the emergence of the GSM through which people now communicate faster.

“The postage of letters have dropped because only very few people now post letters. Except when sending a document or a parcel, people prefer to communicate via the phone. Many of our post office boxes are no longer functional because a lot of people are not paying for them since we increased the rate to N3,200. Generally speaking, business is slow, but we are getting by”, another staff told Saturday Vanguard.

However, it was learnt that the NIPOST courier service known as EMS (Expedited Mail Service) is still highly patronized because of its relatively cheaper cost when compared to other courier services. “That appears to be our major source of revenue now” the source stated.

In Asaba, customers trickle into Post-Offices

By Austin Ogwuda
ALTHOUGH its sister organization, NITEL has gone underground in Delta State, NIPOST office in Asaba, Delta State capital is still bubbling with activities.

A visit to NIPOST office on Nnebisi Road adjacent Police ‘A’ Division showed that customers were coming to transact business. However the hitherto bustling and long queues commonly noticed some years at the counters were absent, as customers trickle in.

Posting of letters, unarguably, had reduced drastically due to the GSM and internet patronage but dispatching of parcels via the courier service of the agency is quite noticeable.

Counter staff were found on duty when visited while the agency presently maintains skeletal staff strength unlike what it used to be years back.

Some of the staff spoken to who maintained anonymity expressed concern over the fate of the organization because of dwindling revenue being generated. They called on the Federal government not to allow the agency to die.

An Asaba-based female journalist, Anastacia  Agunwa, told our reporter that “NIPOST is still very necessary in the society because there are some information that could not be passed to the recipient through either text messages, internet or phone calls. For instance, documents like share dividend warrants, pamphlets, books and other documents must be sent through NIPOST. Therefore, it should not be ignored because it has not outlived its usefulness. Instead, the necessary authorities should make the services more vibrant in order to maintain its credibility”.

On his part, the Delta State Chairman of Labour Party LP, Comrade Emeka Nkwoala noted that “this is one of the challenges of development. Some persons do patronize NIPOST but I can’t remember doing that. NIPOST should be made to be competitive and do more on advertisement.  I’m an advocate of buy local but think global. The consumer should not be shortchanged in any way”, he stated.

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