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Nigeria Loses 12.5% Courier Companies Annually

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Piqued by challenges ranging from regulatory, operational to managerial, the dearth rate of companies in the Nigerian courier sector stands at 12.5% per annum, according to information available to the Nigeria CommunicationsWeek.

The total number of licenced operators by the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) as at December 2014 is 374, whereas Nigeria CommunicationsWeek gathered that only 80 of them are functioning optimally, bringing the exit rate to 79% in the last 30 years.

The dwindling trend in the sector was attributed to, but not limited to, lack of due regulation channel and absence of proper regulation; inimical activities of local government employees on Nigerian roads; misunderstanding of courier operators importance and schedule by the law enforcement agents and ultimately, non-recognition of the viability of the sector by the Federal Government.

Speaking in Lagos on the appalling state of the industry, Mr. Siyanbola Oladapo, president, Association of Nigeria Courier Operators (ANCO), said that the demand for reforms in the postal sub-sector has been recurring dismal in Nigeria’s policy formulation.

Oladapo recalled that the Department of Post and Telecommunication (P&T) was split during the regime of General Muhammed Buhari (rtd.) in 1985 (now President-elect). From the spilt emerged the Nigeria Telecommunications (NITEL) and the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST).

“Since the spilt, the telecoms sector has undergone several reforms cumulating in the tremendous investment and success especially with the advent of GSM. Although, NITEL has been comatose since then, however is it remarkable that the boost in the telecoms could not have been possible without the role of Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC).

“It is therefore regrettable that NIPOST and indeed, the entire postal sector have remained without noticeable reforms since its split from P&T”.

The ANCO President attribute the sorry state of the sector to the “non-reform in NIPOST” which he said, “has therefore negatively affected the Postal Sector including private courier companies. Instead of the Federal Government to create a neutral body to regulate the Postal Sector as it did for the telecoms, a department was carved out of NIPOST to regulate the private operators.

“Courier Regulatory Department (CRD) being a unit of NIPOST, not independent, so does not have the necessary Executive and Legislative powers to regulate, transform, and protect the Postal Sector,” he said.

Oladapo also sent a ‘Save Our Soul’ (SoS) message to President Muhammedu Buhari, to continue and complete the reform he started in the P&T 30 years ago as demand for the creation of a Postal and Courier Regulatory Commission (PCRC) had been made by body of private courier operators since the First Courier Summit held in 11 years ago.

Also, Mr. Okey Uba, ANCO’s secretary general bemoaned the lukewarm attitude in the Government quarters towards the plight of the sector adding that a Postal Commission Bill was sent to the 6th and 7th national Assembly for debate and passage through the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE), but none could scale through.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government sponsored an Executive Bill in that regards never materalised before the tenure of 7th NASS expired in June 2015.

ANCO said that the imperative for the passage of the Bill falls in line with the Universal Postal Union (UPU’s) recent drives on global reform of the postal sector.

Oladapo said that UPU (of which Nigeria is a signatory), has urged member countries to adhere strictly to this directive.  

“We believe that with the passage of the P&C services Regulations Bill, a proper regulatory body shall be established for the sector”, he said.

Nodding in agreement, Mrs Lara Okuneye, vice president (ANCO), said that from the Political point of view, the newly inaugurated government should not ditch the achievements recorded by the outgoing government rather push for the passage of the Bill.

According to her, this is an industry that all involved will benefit, with immediate impacts like job creation, and contribution to the gross domestic products (GDP).

Also, Toyin Adeojo, publicity secretary of ANCO, said that States and Local Governments share in the blame, as their agencies are all out to ‘snuff life’ out of the existing courier operators through multi-taxations and other obnoxious charges.

He called on the new governments to convoke stakeholders’ forum for further deliberations on how to restore the dignity of the courier sector in the country.

 


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Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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AfDB Appoints Dr Babatunde Samson Omotosho as Director of Statistics Department

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African Development Bank has appointed Dr Babatunde Samson Omotosho, an economist and statistician, as Director of the Statistics Department, effective June 16, 2024.

Dr Babatunde Samson Omotosho

Dr Omotosho, a Nigerian national, has more than 21 years experience in developing data strategies to align with the strategic objectives of organisations. He also brings expertise in data compilation, data analytics, macroeconomic research, and policy analysis.

Omotosho previously served as Director of Research and Statistics at the West African Monetary Agency (WAMA) in Sierra Leone, where he was seconded from the Central Bank of Nigeria. At WAMA, he provided advice on monetary and economic integration within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Prior to that he held various positions within the Statistics and Research Departments of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

As an Assistant Director in the Statistics Department, he led the data analytics team and managed the Central Bank’s strategic initiatives on big data and data analytics. He oversaw projects aimed at enhancing data analytics capabilities for policymaking, automating surveys and statistical systems, improving data sharing infrastructure and developing social media listening tools. His leadership fostered a culture of data analytics within the Central Bank, driving innovation and efficiency in operational and policy processes.

Dr Omotosho holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Glasgow, United Kingdom (2021); a master’s degree in Applied Statistics and Datamining from the University of St Andrews, United Kingdom (2011); a master’s degree in Economics from the University of Benin, Nigeria (2008); and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Ilorin, Nigeria (2000).

He has contributed extensively to academic literature, with publications in reputable journals, including the Journal of Economic Dynamics & Control, Journal of International Money & Finance, Macroeconomic & Finance in Emerging Market Economies, and the Central Bank of Nigeria Journal of Applied Statistics. His research covers big data, econometrics, monetary and fiscal policy interactions, business cycle drivers, and the macroeconomic implications of resource shocks for small open, emerging economies.

Omotosho is a member of the Nigerian Statistical Association, the International Association for Official Statistics, and the Royal Statistical Society.

Commenting on his appointment, he said, “I am grateful to President Adesina for this appointment, and I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to the continued success and growth of the African Development Bank Group, an institution that plays such a pivotal role in the economic and social development of our beloved continent, Africa. I am fully committed to fulfilling the responsibilities of the position while collaborating effectively with the Bank’s senior leadership team, colleagues, and other strategic partners.”

Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group, commented: “I am pleased to appoint Dr Babatunde Samson Omotosho, a respected statistician, as Director of the Statistics Department. Dr Omotosho brings to this role an impressive track record in statistics, economics, and data analytics. He will support the Bank in building a robust data ecosystem to achieve our strategic objectives and sustain our long-term development goals.”


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ATII Awards Scholarship to Students

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A knowledge transfer and technology innovation hub, African Technology and Innovation Institutes (ATII) has awarded scholarships to ten pupils from Bridge International Academy, Lagos.

Through its Junior Scholars Program in partnership with Lumina Educational and Empowerment Foundation (Lumina), the scholarship will meet the educational needs of the benefitting pupils through their primary education, which is extendable to their university education.

The Junior Scholars Program is an offshoot of  ATII’s  Innovation, Leaders, Fellowship and Scholars Program that aims to empower and cater to the welfare of students aged 3-12 years from underprivileged and low-income communities by partnering with other organisations to provide scholarships for these rough diamonds.

In addition to the scholarship, ATII also provides STEM-based back-to-school kits and other Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) materials to spark their desire for education and to contribute to their communities in STEM-related fields.

In her congratulatory message, the Founder of ATII,  Prof. Rose-Margaret Ekeng-Itua represented by Mr Sunday Awolowo, ATII’s Programs Manager, praised the students for their “outstanding academic excellence” and their “resolve to continue to improve in their academic pursuits, especially in the STEM fields.”

“We hope that the scholarships will continue to encourage you to do great work to pursue STEM. We hope one day in the future you all will be inspired to be an Engineer, a technologist, a mathematician or scientist,” Prof. Ekeng-Itua said.

The ATII Junior Scholars Program is designed to encourage and support students who are interested in pursuing careers in these fields.

Mrs Ezinne Tochie-Asogwa, Manager of Academics at Bridge International Academy, expressed her appreciation to ATII for the generous gesture.

“On behalf of the management and staff of Bridge International Academy, we appreciate the kind gesture of ATII.

ATII is passionate about the next generation of leaders and individuals who will change the world, pursuing its mission to promote African and Indigenous Technologies, while supporting human capital development in alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The ATII scholarships will provide financial assistance to the students as they continue their education in STEM fields. The program will also provide mentorship and support from ATII professionals.

 


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CBN, FintechNGR Chart the Way Forward to Enhance Nigeria’s Fintech Ecosystem

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In light of recent developments aimed at strengthening Nigeria’s fintech sector, Ade Bajomo, President of FintechNGR, led a team from the Association’s Governing Council in an engagement with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to chart the way forward.

Receiving the team at the CBN headquarters in Abuja, Philip Ikeazor, Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, commended FintechNGR’s active advocacy efforts that have significantly improved the fintech ecosystem.

The Central Bank emphasized the need for the Association to work closely with stakeholders to operate within regulatory provisions, facilitate compliance, and establish robust risk management frameworks and governance structures.

Mr. Ikeazor stated, “The Central Bank understands the critical roles of fintechs in driving financial inclusion to the last mile. Our efforts are geared towards helping fintechs become more attractive to investors and achieve greater success.”

During the meeting, Ade Bajomo noted that while stakeholders strive to comply with regulatory requirements, they sometimes face challenges beyond their control.

“The common understanding within our ecosystem is that compliance makes the environment safer for all to innovate, scale, and collaborate. FintechNGR will ensure the co-creation of a support structure with the CBN to enhance compliance.”

Some of the initiatives the regulators plan to pursue with the ecosystem include making the 2024 Nigeria Fintech Week more impactful, enriching the activities of the Regulators Forum, organizing fintech learning series for various stakeholders, and exploring self-regulation status for FintechNGR to foster closer relationships with regulators.

FintechNGR remains committed to working with all regulators to better position the ecosystem to be more inclusive and impactful.

 


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