Isa Ali Pantami, the minister of communications and digital economy, has denied giving approval to the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) to increase licence fees for courier companies.
NIPOST recently announced a review of the licence fees to be paid by courier companies saying the ministry of communications and digital economy, its supervisory ministry, approved the new guidelines.
In a tweet on Saturday, Pantami said the increased licence fees were not included in the guidelines it approved.
“Our attention has been drawn to an increase of licence fee, which was not part of the regulation I earlier approved for you. Your chair and postmaster-general (PMG) were yesterday contacted to put the implementation on hold and send a report to our ministry by Monday,” he wrote.
“The power of regulation of NIPOST lies with the minister. Any change of fee must be specific & be approved by him before implementation. I know the economic challenges of NIPOST. However, looking at the economic hardship of our citizens, we need to suspend any move.”
In a statement on Tuesday, Frankin Alao, general manager for corporate communications, said Pantami approved the new guidelines to replace the one which has been in existence since 2001.
The statement said the new guidelines would enhance the operations of courier services while giving special consideration to small & medium enterprises (SMEs).
“Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami stated in the letter of approval that the new regulations will no doubt enhance the regulatory powers of NIPOST in this subsector of the economy,” the statement read.
“This was put into perspective as the new regulations that created six categories of licensing ranging from international operators, regional, state, municipal or intra-city, and giving consideration for special small & medium enterprises (SME) licence.”
NIPOST had also said the new regulations would assist SMEs to grow and create youth empowerment that will translate into employment opportunities for Nigerians.
“The new guideline has made it possible for every operator irrespective of their category to be identified with specific address and location that is traceable to before and after engaging their services. This will eliminate the risk posed by dubious operators who may take advantage of poor control to operate illegally,” the agency said.
However, the fees did not sit well with owners of small businesses as many took to social media to complain about the fees.
“My manager said they are arresting dispatch riders and their bikes. We need to register with N250,000 per bike before we can operate. Even if we need to register, why N250,000? Where do they expect us to get such money to register each bike?” Tessy Olisedeme, the owner of an online store, TCM Brand, wrote on Instagram.
“How much is the profit we are making? How do we satisfy our customers and make some change for ourselves without dispatch bikes? I have two bikes I use for delivery, that will be N500k from where exactly do I bring this money from?”
“High dollar rate and shipping fees are already killing us now this @jidesanwoolu please sir look into this fee it is too high for us, we don’t mind registering but not N250k sir, please help to make running a business easy for us.”
Sharing similar thoughts, Nelly Agbogu, who provides trading tips to small business owners and owns a healthy food and snack company, said her dispatch bikes were almost seized on Friday.
Here are some of the reactions on Twitter about the regulatory fee.