The federal government’s plan to commercialise the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) is facing resistance from its staff union, which alleges a ploy to make the service extinct.
The National Union of Postal and Telecommunications Employees (NUPTE) is supported by the Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government-Owned Companies (SSASCGOC) on this stance.
In a joint statement on Friday, the unions said the commercialisation plan by the federal government through the Bureau of Public Enterprises was to “tactically make NIPOST extinct under the guise of reform/commercialization.”
In June 2020, the government said it had begun the process of unbundling NIPOST into three subsidiary companies which would operate on the principle of commercial viability.
BPE’s Director-General, Alex Okoh, announced at the time that the reform would not only improve the traditional services of NIPOST but also bring about new revenue streams for the organisation.
However, in their statement on Friday, the two unions said it is so “glaring that the shrewd plan of the BPE, Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy (FMoCDE), the Federal Ministry of Finance and other self-centred individuals involved in this process was to tactically reap NIPOST of its assets and leave the Organisation high and dry as against the promised growth and improvement.”
“Hence, every aspect of the proposed commercialisation has been shrewd in utmost secrecy,” added the statement signed by Ayo Olorunfemi, the general secretary of SSASCGOC.
The statement said the two unions have engaged all relevant authorities on issues that bother around this reform, particularly the two subsidiary companies that were created (NIPOST Properties & Development Company Limited and NIPOST Transport & Logistics Services Limited).
“The Unions had on several occasions presented their position, stressing that the reform process is manned with fraud and irregularities but the BPE, FMoCDE, NIPOST Governing Board and the Postmaster-General/CEO have decided to pay lip services to the issues, instead, the Honourable Minister further directed those concerned to commence the take-off of these subsidiaries without recourse to our concerns,” the statement added.
It also raised concerns that the composition of the Board of Directors of these companies clearly shows that NIPOST as an entity has no influence or stake in these subsidiaries.
Other concerns of the unions are that “Section C of the objects for which the NIPOST Properties & Development Company Limited is established clearly states that the Company can SELL, lease or exchange the assets of NIPOST, a provision that empowers the company to sell off NIPOST assets if they so desire.”
They also said the recruitment of management staff of these companies was carried out without considering the current management staff of NIPOST who are experienced in this sector and the salaries of the management staff of these companies far outweigh the wages of top management of NIPOST, a disparity that is alarming, Mr Olorunfemi said in the statement.
“In light of the above concerns, the unions concluded that “the so-called NIPOST reform is an affront against the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, especially the NIPOST Act.”
They said the structure and process of the reform are not in any way in tandem with a reform of this nature as witnessed in other sectors that have undergone similar reforms, as this process is clearly an attempt to kill and bury the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) and throw our members into the labour market.
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“That NIPOST in the last 15 years has not been receiving any form of capital funding from the Federal Government and instead of releasing funds to strengthen this critical national infrastructure of government, funds are being diverted to the subsidiaries, which are being run and managed by a few individuals for their self-gains,” the unions said, calling on the government to suspend the take-off of the subsidiaries and critically examine the concerns raised above with a view to addressing these anomalies.
PREMIUM TIMES has contacted BPE for comment but the agency has yet to respond. An email sent to the official email of the BPE was not replied while a spokesperson, Joseph Anwoh, did also not respond to a text message.
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