Toyin Olufade, president, Association of Nigerian Courier Operators (ANCO) has immense knowledge of the courier industry having cut his teeth in DHL for nearly two decades. Olufade breathes sleeps and speaks with passion about the industry.
He is also the managing director of Swift Courier limited, a company founded in 1997 and today a frontrunner in the sector. Olufade spoke to Emeka Okafor on a wide range of issues.
Courier and Economic Development
I would want to say that as at today, the industry itself is just about 30 years old in Nigeria and it is still emerging. It is a growing industry and we expect it to contribute its own quota to the development of the economy of the country. Courier is what people call air express, movement of sensitive document at a rapid rate from one origin to a destination within the country or outside. Therefore, if you are talking about industrialization, the courier industry plays a prominent role. If you are talking about express document, you need courier and that implies that information can begin to move from one place to another at a very fast rate. We utilize the air, the road and the sea and that means we contribute to the development of the transport industry. Apart from that, do not forget we also utilize utilities. In this case we are talking about motorcycles, cars, trucks and we are a very high demand sector for these equipment. When you talk about employment, we have a lot of people employed in courier companies. If you believe that registered courier companies are about 240 in Nigeria at the moment, then you can imagine the number of employees in that sector. It is expected that each courier company should have at least five offices nationwide; so you can imagine the number of people in each office. So, it is a very big industry and we are still tracking the throttle. As it is on the international scene, a lot of courier companies have airlifts of their own but we are limited here. If you look at it in general, the courier industry, the air express sector, logistics sector, which all come under the same umbrella, contribute in the development of the economy.
Experience as ANCO President
You see, they say uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. Right now, it is an evolving association. We are just about 4-5 years in the making and we thank God that we are duly recognized. Our mandate was handed over to us by Chief Cornelius Adebayo, immediate past communications minister, who was very supportive. That was some two and half years ago and since then, we have been waxing strong. The ideal is to promote the industry, to coordinate the activities of the courier industry and to ensure that we deliver service to the customers and clients alike. As for followership, we encourage our members, each registered and licensed courier company; that is registered with the CAC and licensed with the Courier Regulatory Department (CRD); to become a member so that we can have a vision of how to further develop the industry by contributing our quota in an organized, coordinated method and procedure. So far, we are making our impact and we are trying to coordinate it with other stakeholders in the industry. We work with the Shippers Council; we work with airfreight people, the commerce ministry, the embassy, so that we can have a coordinated approach to service delivery. Well, it has been good and membership of ANCO now ranges between 50-55 members. People are becoming aware of the need to come together to fashion a way forward, especially with the challenges that exist. The association in recent past has made its own input into other national assignments. We have been invited to several for a where we were asked to deliver papers and make our own input into those other organized private sectors. So, things have been working well for ANCO and we are actually asking other people whom we are hooking up to, to come together so that we can determine the way forward for the sector.
The funny thing is this, as you find a means of curbing their activities, they device another. It is an unending battle. But we are not relenting. Many thrive on illegality, they want to cut corners as to avoid due payment to government; and also cheat unsuspecting customers. The battle has been on by the courier regulatory body and we give them our one hundred percent support. As a matter of fact, in the last meeting we had with the regulatory body, we told them we were even prepared to go on raiding rounds with them so as to express our support. Let it be known that registered courier companies are not happy with the illegal conduct of others because the truth of the matter is; it keeps the industry in a bad light because if one company errs it is like every other company has done wrong and we want to clear negative impressions. We are professionals, adequately and well trained to offer optimum quality service to the country. Yes, illegality exists. You will be surprised that every person believes that he can run a courier service. It becomes a matter of just give me the letter and I will take it there. As such you find road transporters, the airlines and individuals running courier service from the booths of their cars in car lots, no fixed address. It is really dangerous for the industry and we give our support to the CRD in the current fight to correct the illegality.
ICT and Courier Sector
ICT and courier work together because we are talking about information processing. For instance, in courier we have what is called ‘Track and Trace’. That is, if you hand over your documents to me, it means you will be able to process it and know where it is at any point in time until it is delivered and of course, you cannot do that by word of mouth. It is information that is fed into information devices. For the industry itself, it also advertises us. If you have a website, people know where you are and you can feed them with information about you at any time. I have received calls through the internet from people and associations trying to find out about certain companies and it was easy for me to give them information or ask them to visit the companies’ websites. See, it makes life easier. So, ICT is very crucial to courier and I know by the way we are going; there will be further development between ICT and the Air Express industry.
We should not talk much of postal reform because that is more of the public sector postal system. The postal system is not operating on the optimum currently but it is to our own advantage because it has helped us to move forward too. If it were effective, what would have happened to courier? But we have to step up ourselves and be able to deliver on time. The postal reform is necessary in Nigeria because the country is one of the poorest corresponding countries in the world. We do not write much and as a matter of fact, we do not even read. We need to improve on our communication at the postal sector which will rub off on the courier industry. As for the postal commission, it is what we the private sector operators and stakeholders agitated for. We really believe that it is an unfair practice to have a player regulating. There is no way he can be justified and we want to say that ANCO is impressed by the way things are going. We feel that it should even have been considered by the Senate at the moment but I believe it is already there and they are looking at it and probably thinking whether to make further submissions. We are eagerly looking forward to the establishment of the postal commission which will regulate and guide the operations of the postal sector.
Expectations from the Commission
We expect that there will be a more coordinated approach to service delivery and at the moment we have a sole regulator whose sole responsibility is to ensure that the consumer gets the best service which means that there will be more competition and effectiveness on service delivery and people will demand more from us. It will also affect pricing, time delivery and ways in which we offer services. It can even give rise to categorization because we will then begin to specialize. We are looking forward to its implementation so that consumers can begin to experience the effects.
NCC Threatens Illegal Users of GSM Boosters with Arrest, Prosecution
Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has warned telecom consumers to desist from using illegal GSM boosters.
The commission also said that anyone caught using a GSM booster without obtaining approval of a duly licensed network operator will face arrest and prosecution.
GSM boosters are devices that transmit and receive telecommunications signals and can therefore interfere with other radio frequency equipment.
Ikechukwu Adinde, director, public affairs, NCC, said in a notice published on NCC website, that only licensed network operators are allowed to use GSM boosters.
The booster, also known as amplifier or repeater is made up of three main elements – exterior antenna, amplifier, and interior antenna.
They form a wireless system to boost cellular reception
“Members of the public should note that, willful interference with any wireless telegraphy is an offence under Section 16 of the Telegraphy Act, 2004,”it said
The agency said it will not condone any flagrant breach of this law.
It has also enforced measures to prosecute offenders.
Accordingly, monitoring mechanisms have been put in place and anyone caught using a GSM booster without obtaining approval of a duly licensed network operator will face arrest and prosecution.
“Any member of the public with useful information regarding the illegal use of GSM Boosters should contact the Commission on 09-4617000/7351 or send an email to [email protected],” the notice said.
“Individuals desirous of using GSM Boosters should note that they can only do so in conjunction with licensed network operators,” it added.
Tizeti Selects Nokia to Provide LTE Fixed Wireless Access Solution for High-Speed internet Services in Nigeria
Tizeti announced that it selected Nokia’s Fastmile Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology to enable usprovide superior internet services to over 1 Million subscribers in Port Harcourt, Edo and Ogun in Nigeria.
Tizeti will deploy Nokia’s AirScale Base Station TDD-LTE and FastmileFixed Wireless Access (FWA) gatewaysto deliver premium internet and Virtual Private Network (VPN) services to Residential, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
The solution will also enable Tizeti’sto deliver a more robust, high-speedinternet service to subscribers and the flexibility to seamlessly evolve to 5G Fixed Wireless Access when needed.
Nokia’s FWA solution enables Tizeti to fast-track broadband access and provide a best-in-class broadband experience to its subscribers.
Nokia’sAirScale Base Stations ensure high-quality connectivity and coverage and enablesTizeti to evolve the network in line with customer demand.
Nokia’sFastmilegateways connect wirelessly to the existing network to createa fastbroadband connection and enhanced Wi-Fi experience in the home.
The Nokia Network Services Platform will help Tizeti to simplify operations and quickly respond to changing market demands.
Kendall Ananyi, Tizeti, said:“We are committed to providing the best-in-class network experience to our subscribers. We are confident that Nokia’s proven technology and expertise will help us differentiate our services based on quality. This a crucial project for us as it introduces LTE in our networks and allows us to bring new and innovative services to our subscribers.”
Eniola Balogun, Nokia, said:“We are thrilled to work with Tizeti on the initiative to upgrade their network to bring the latest products and services to its subscribers. Nokia Fastmile will help Tizeti to cost-effectively enhance the customer experience.
The project will also enable them to delight their subscribers by providing more reliable data services.
On the other hand, Tizeti will benefit by adding new revenue streams.”
Risk Assets Push Higher on Vaccine Hopes; Eyes on the Fed
By Hussein Sayed, Chief Market Strategist at FXTM,
After two consecutive weeks of back-to-back declines, global stocks kicked off Monday with solid gains amid a surge in M&A activity and positive signs towards vaccine developments. Currency markets were little changed ahead of a busy week of monetary policy announcements, while Oil and Gold ticked slightly higher.
The two big deals announced over the weekend were Softbank’s plan to sell chipmaker ARM to Nvidia for more than $40 billion and Gilead Sciences to acquire Immunomedics for a price tag of $21 billion. Meanwhile, on the vaccine front, AstraZeneca resumed its phase-3 trial on Covid-19 after being suspended last week following a neurological illness developed in one participant, and Pfizer announced that its vaccine could be distributed before year-end if found safe and effective.
Central Banks will take centre stage this week with the Federal Reserve, Bank of England and Bank of Japan all due to announce policy decisions. Out of the three meetings, the Fed is likely to be the most watched following its historic shift towards average inflation targeting. The big question remains how will the FOMC put this policy into action?
From what we know now, the Fed is set up to keep interest rates near zero for a long time, possibly for several years. Given the new framework, any spike in inflation won’t translate into immediate rate hikes as the Fed wants to compensate for the lost years when they have failed to hit the target. The dot plot will be the key guide for investors and traders alike. If inflation projections remain at 2% or below for the foreseeable future, this will solidify market expectations for a low rate environment for many years to come. That said, Jay Powell would still have to explain in more detail how the new framework will be translated into policy action.
In June’s economic projections, the Fed anticipated unemployment would be at 9.3% by year-end, but, in August, unemployment was well below that forecast at 8.4%. Many other economic data surprised to the upside during the June – August period in a clear sign that most economists were overly pessimistic towards the strength of the recovery. However, there is still a considerable amount of uncertainty given the latest surge in Covid-19 cases worldwide and the US, especially as we get closer into the winter season. A second wave will undoubtedly put the recovery at risk in the final quarter of the year and it will be interesting to see the Fed’s view on that issue.
As for the market selloff over the past two weeks, the Fed isn’t likely to show any signs of concern. In fact, policymakers should be satisfied with the pullback as the risk of a bubble in several assets has been growing due to the Fed’s extremely accommodative policies. Unless we see another 10 -15% drop, do not expect the Fed to intervene.
NCC Threatens Illegal Users of GSM Boosters with Arrest, Prosecution
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