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Consumer Enlightenment Imperative

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As efforts are being intensified by industry stakeholders, the government and the Courier Regulatory Department to reposition the postal sector to meet the aspirations of the 21st century market environment, it is also important that consumers of postal services should be in the know what their rights and limitations are in dealing with operators of courier companies.

Considering that information is power, consumer awareness of the products and services rendered by courier companies will go a long way in stimulating the postal market as well as creating confidence in the minds of consumers. There is need to shore up confidence level of indigenous courier companies compared to their multi-national counterparts. There are some people who would never send their consignments or letters through the indigenous courier companies simply because they believe the indigenous ones are not good enough. Obviously the judgment is as a result of bias formed over the years when letters used to disappear in transit with the Nigerian Postal Service surface mail system. But all those is now history as the Nipost has showed determination and fervor to compete with private courier companies in the postal business in recent times.

In the market economy that is Information and Communication Technology driven, some courier companies are still shying away from exploiting possibilities provided by the ICT platform. Most of these courier firms have websites which are never updated for over four years thereby leaving visitors to such sites with little or no information to work with. To say the truth some will move to another location while their websites still maintain the old addresses. What they achieve with this is only but to mislead the public. I had a sad experience when I visited the site of one of these courier firms one day and what did I get? Virus of course. It was an expensive visit in deed.

It keeps beating my imagination why majority of the courier practitioners are shy to divulge information about their organizations which will be of immense pay back to their organizations even when disclosing such pieces of information attracts no cost, whereas their counterparts in the other sectors see the press as partners in progress and are willing to court and marry with the media.

 

The postal and courier sector needs to be opened up. The present world economy thrives on co-operation and collaboration and no longer on I can do it alone mentality.

The Courier Regulatory Department of Nipost has in its series of seminars and workshops been trying to sensitize the postal and courier sector on the modern ways of doing business among other areas, but there is also need for the department to device a strategy to accommodate and listen to customer complaints which may arise as a result of failed service delivery on the part of courier operators. Each courier company should be made to display in all their branch offices the Courier Regulatory Department’s phone numbers through which customers can reach the department and somebody should be made to attend to complaints arising from customers at any point in time.

I witnessed an encounter involving a courier company and a customer who sent her consignment through the courier firm. The van conveying the consignment was attacked by hoodlums along the way and goods were alleged to have been stolen. The encounter revealed how naïve and ignorant some customers are with the processes and procedures for sending their parcels through the courier companies. To cut the long story short, the customer was allowed to send her consignment without having to disclose and record taken by the clerk at the counter all the items the customer was sending out. It was obvious from the account that some of the bags for delivery were not even opened.

As a result of the robbery, the customer was contacted to declare the items which she sent through the courier company that were missing. The claims she made revealed that all the items she packaged were not recorded in the manifest by the clerk. Now how would this matter be resolved as the courier company threatens not to be liable to the spurious claims (as the GM of the courier firm puts it) emanating from the customer?.

The missing link is lack of information on the customer in knowing what his or her rights are. Courier companies should also at their own level be involved in educating their customers whenever the opportunity arises and not only be interested in pocketing clients’ monies alone. Service for what has been paid for has to be delivered. Educating their entire work force through training and workshops should also be a regular phenomenon in courier companies. This will help to improve the level of trust customers have in courier companies which is necessary for the growth of the postal business.


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FG Offers to Support TStv to Relaunch with Pay per View Model

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National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has pledged to give necessary support to TStv Africa as the indigenous digital satellite TV service begins full operation with pay per view model on October 1, 2020.

FG Offers to Support TStv to Relaunch with Pay per View Model

Professor Armstrong Idachaba, acting director-general of NBC, made the promise on Monday in Abuja when the management team of TStv paid him an official visit.

The visit was to inform him of the company‘s readiness to commence full operation across the country on October 1.

TStv Africa is a wholly-owned Nigerian innovative multi-channel outfit which had promised to operate a pay per view model for the benefit of Nigerians.

Idachaba said: “We promise on our side that we will continue to support you.

“At this time, I think that the major issue confronting the PayTv sector is the area of giving Nigerians option of deregulating purchasing capacity in terms of pay as you go concept.

“We believe this will give you the visibility if you remain committed to the idea.

“We welcome that option and wish that it serves as a stimulant and as a progressive index for other pay-TV operators to adopt.

“Some of them have come up with a lot of excuses why pay per view is difficult and why it is not doable.

“We want you to be the galvaniser to prove the naysayers wrong that this is doable in the interest of Nigerians.

“Once you begin and you make a success of it through increased subscription base, we are sure that others will be drawn into it as it happened in the telecommunication sector.”

Idachaba said the NBC is committed to promoting local participation in the nation’s broadcasting industry, especially in the pay-TV sector, to create jobs and provide diversity for Nigerians.

He acknowledged the challenges TStv had faced over the years and encouraged the company to remain focused.

“We are aware that it has been very challenging for you.

“All over the world dominant players will always want to remain in a dominant position.

” Those who want to survive will also have to take the courage to do so,” he said.

The Acting Director-General, however, admonished the firm to refrain from any activity that would give Nigeria a bad name.

“If you are acquiring rights, you must make sure that your rights are legitimately acquired.

“You must make sure you follow the rules of engagement strictly, study the broadcasting code strictly to have a robust future ahead of you,” he said.

Earlier, Dr Echefu Bright, managing director and CEO of TStv, said they were at the NBC to seek the commission’s support to have a peaceful roll out on October 1.

He said the outfit also visited the NBC to officially present samples of its decoders to the commission and thank the management for its support.

Bright gave an assurance that the novel pay per view concept was sacrosanct.

“The model is what we have experimented and implemented and it works and we have done everything we need to do for it Nigerians to benefit.

“Beyond that, we have enough boxes on ground that will cover the entire country,” he said.

Bright also gave an assurance that with the Oct.1 roll out, every part of the country would be covered.

“We currently have a dealership in virtually every state in Nigeria and as I speak to you now our goods are already with them for October 1 rollout. The coverage from day one will be across Nigeria,”

On sports products, he said the firm has Laliga as well as the FA Cup and  Euro Cup 2021 rights.

 


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FCT Lifts Suspension Order on Masts, Towers

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Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has finally lifted the suspension order it earlier placed on telecoms masts and towers in Abuja metropolis.

FCT Lifts Suspension Order on Masts, Towers

The FCTA has therefore asked telecoms operators to commence fresh moves to regularise, update and settle all outstanding bills on their masts and towers to enable them resume installation of masts and towers in the territory.

Relieved of the burden of the suspension of telecoms masts installation in Abuja, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, chairman of the Association of Licenced Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), said that the suspension order would enable telecoms operators resume telecoms masts and other telecoms infrastructure rollout in Abuja, a situation, he said would address the issue of poor telecoms services in Abuja and its environ, having suffered from poor telecoms service delivery in the territory since the suspension order in February this year.

The FCT Administration had on February 3, 2020, placed a suspension order for the installation of telecoms masts and towers in the federal capital territory and communicated same to all telecoms operators through a letter.

In a recent letter dated September 25, 2020, written to all telecoms operators through their association, ALTON, the FCT Administration lifted the suspension order and asked telecoms operators to commence masts installation after seeking the necessary approvals.

Part of the letter with reference No: FCDA/ES/460/Vol.1, which was signed by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Capital Territory Administration, Olusade Adesola, read: “I wish to refer to our letter dated February 3, 2020, which conveyed the suspension of the grant of permits for the erection of telecoms masts/towers in the FCT and the series of correspondences by you dated April 30, July 14, and September 8, 2020, wherein you appealed for reconsideration of the directive to facilitate prompt resumption of the issuance of the build permit process.

“After carefully studying your concerns, the FCT Administration is delighted to convey the lifting of the suspension of the processing/grant of permits for telecoms masts and towers in the FCT, with effect from the date of this letter.”

Reacting to the letter, Adebayo said: “For some time now, telecoms operators in Abuja have not been able to provide adequate capacity to carry the load of Abuja subscribers because of the non-approval of the expansion of telecoms masts and towers by the FCT Administration.

The implication is that those who travelled into Abuja from other states and from other countries were not able to have uninterrupted telecoms services, which was a reputation issue for the country, because travelers will leave the country with the impression that telecoms services are poor in the country. But with the lifting of the suspension order, telecoms operators will be able to install more masts that will lead to better user experience of telecoms services in Abuja. The government agencies will also have better user experience and service delivery.”

“We are happy with the lifting of the suspension order for the telecoms masts and towers in Abuja, and we are glad that the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami, was able to resolve this for us. So we are ready to expand telecoms infrastructure in the FCT.”


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FG Launches Digital Nigeria Portal, Mobile App

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Dr Isa Pantami, minister of Communications and Digital Economy (FMCDE) has unwrapped a Digital Nigeria Portal and Mobile Application in furtherance of the Digital Nigeria Programme.

FG Launches Digital Nigeria Portal, Mobile App

Dr Isa Ibrahim Pantami

The Digital Nigeria Programme was kick-started by President Muhammadu Buhari, on March 19, 2020.

At the virtual launch of the mobile application in Abuja, Pantami, said it was part of the government’s key initiatives aimed at empowering innovators and entrepreneurs with the requisite skills to thrive in an emerging digital economy.

He explained that the Digital Nigeria programme was a key component of the Digital Literacy and Skills Pillar of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for a Digital Nigeria which was being championed by himself.

Pantami said the ministry was partnering with global institutions including the African Development Bank (AFDB) and Microsoft to enable Nigerians to acquire cutting edge digital skills within the comfort of their homes.

The Minister, however, reiterated the government’s resolve to promote skills over paper qualifications.

“We are championing a paradigm shift that lays emphasis on skills, in preference to merely having degrees without skills.

“Degrees are only meant to validate skills, this is a growing trend across the globe.

“The digital literacy and skills pillar recognises the fact that citizens are the greatest assets in any economy, including the digital economy.

“It will support the development of a large pool of digitally literate and digitally skilled citizens. The “Digital Nigeria” mobile app is available on play store and apple store, enabling Nigerians to enrol in ICT courses within the comfort of their homes,” he said.

Pantami said that much of the content was provided through AfDB’s partnership with Microsoft, adding that students can download certificates after completing the courses.

According to him, across the globe, there is a growing focus on the need for developing skills, rather than merely acquiring degrees.

“To this end, Nigerians are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity by enroling today at https://digitalnigeria.gov.ng; or https://academy.nitda.gov.ng/ accordingly.

“The portals will give details on how to register and how to download the relevant Mobile Apps.

“The Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy is committed to developing the capacity of Nigerians to use technology to solve problems.

“We will keep updating the course offerings to reflect global trends. The Digital Nigeria Programme will provide a platform to empower Nigerians to develop relevant skills and build innovative solutions to address challenges within,” Pantami said.

Some of those present at the launch included Prof. Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and Prof. Mohammed Abubakar, managing director of the Galaxy Backbone (GBB).


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