Several Nigerians on social media have called upon Bosun Tijani, the Minister of Communication, Innovation, and Digital Economy, to undertake a revitalization of the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) in order to enhance and contribute to the nation’s development. This was revealed when the minister made a post on X (formerly Twitter) asking Nigerians for their thoughts on what they believe an ideal NIPOST should look like. According to him, with over 1,180 post office outlets and 3000 agencies, the organization should be playing critical roles in the country’s digital economy.
“As we innovate towards a stronger digital economy, the role of NIPOST cannot be underestimated. Please share some of your hopes for the ideal NIPOST in the comments,” he posts. The tweet evoked various perspectives and opinions as Nigerians shared their thoughts on how they envision an ideal postal service operating in Nigeria. First established by the British colonial masters in 1852, the Nigerian Postal Service has undergone several transformations to become what it is today.
Users on X give their “take” on the proposed reforms.
One of the respondents was Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, CEO of Future Africa. In his opinion, he said, “The ideal NIPOST would be like the NIBSS of logistics. Let it be the open backbone infrastructure for licensed courier companies to power logistics for commerce and trade across the country.” To put this in perspective, the NIBSS stands for the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System Plc. It is owned and licensed by all licensed banks, including the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Incorporated in 1993, but commencing operations in June 1994, the system has developed world class infrastructures for handling interbank payments from that time till now. This was done in order to remove the difficulties experienced with interbank transfers. As of now, Nigerians have one of the easiest interbank transfers in the world, needing only an account number and the destination bank. From a fintech developer’s perspective, this makes sense. If a similar system can be built, Nigerians will have one of the seamless logistics and supply chains in the world.
A user outlines why more should be done to improve the service.
Another X user identified as Jimoh Haadi Oluwaseyi identified and outlined reasons why the service should be taken more into consideration. He said that while the digital economy has transformed how we communicate and conduct business, the importance of post offices remains significant to Nigeria growth. The user gave five reasons, which are: last-mile delivery, e-commerce support, financial services, identity verification, and the bridge to the digital divide. Firstly, post offices play a crucial role in delivering physical goods, especially in remote areas where digital services may not be easily accessible. So, they bridge the gap between the digital and physical worlds by ensuring that packages, documents, and important mail reach their intended recipients.
Furthermore, post offices provide essential services such as tracking, secure delivery, and return logistics, enabling the smooth functioning of e-commerce platforms. The user said that despite the rise of online shopping, many e-commerce transactions still rely on physical shipping and returns. Also, as post offices often offer banking and financial services, including money transfers, bill payments, and savings accounts, these essential services will be beneficial to individuals who may not have access to traditional banking institutions or prefer face-to-face interactions for their financial needs. In the digital economy, where online transactions and services require verifying user identities, these agencies can play a vital role in providing reliable verification services.
Post offices are essential in supporting the digital economy.
Finally, they reduce the digital divide by providing public access to computers, internet services, and assistance with online transactions. Even with advancement in technology, some demographic still do not have access to the internet or to a digital device to use. They are essential as they ensure that the benefits of the digital era reach everyone, regardless of their digital access or capabilities. Meanwhile, another user complained that the agency is still outdated as they demand cash payment instead of transfers that is rapidly spreading in the country.
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