The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has described the provisions of the Nigerian Postal Services Bill 2021 as an impediment to sustainable investment in the courier industry.
The Nigerian Postal Bill, currently before the National Assembly is receiving a lot of opposition from LCCI as the institution warned that the Nigerian Postal Services Bill 2021 as passed by the Senate is replete with provisions that would be detrimental to private sector investments in the courier industry.
In a statement signed by the Director General of the Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Muda Yusuf, on Sunday, expressed happy to reservation about the bill, saying that it was inimical to private sector investments in the courier business.
It noted that the passage of the bill in its current form would put over 100,000 jobs in the courier sector at risk and jeopardise over N300 billion investments in courier services business.
The statement also said the bill would worsen the country’s ease of doing business ratings, which is currently unenviably low for a country like Nigeria still grappling with enormous perception problems by investors.
‘It is a negation of the ease of doing business agenda of the Federal Government and not in consonance with the fundamental principles of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan,” the statement read in part.
Yusuf regretted the fact that the bill had been passed and was awaiting concurrence by the House of Representatives.
He seized the opportunity to appeal that the progression of the bill be halted and the hurtful provisions be removed in a reworked bill.
He said, ‘The LCCI is worried, in particular, about the following provisions in the bill; imposition of an annual levy of 2.5 per cent of the turnover of courier companies to be paid to the proposed Postal Services Commission; powers conferred on the proposed PSC to fix rates for courier services; monopoly privilege conferred on the Nigerian Postal Service for delivery of items weighing 1kg and below.
According to him, all the provisions are not consistent with the commitment of the National Assembly to private sector development which was affirmed by the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, at the inauguration of the National Assembly Business Environment Roundtable in March 2016.
Also speaking, the President of the LCCI, Mrs. Toki Mabogunje, during the Chamber’s, “Address on the State of the Economy,” yesterday in Lagos said the chamber’s concerns about the bill included the requirement in Section 68 (2) (b) that licensed private courier operators should contribute two per cent of their annual turnover to the Universal Postal Service fund.
She said: “We have taken a critical look at the bill and we are seriously concerned about several provisions of the bill. The bill as passed by the Nigerian Senate is replete with provisions that are detrimental to private sector investment in the courier industry.
“This provision is most unfair to courier companies, many of which are struggling to survive. Turnover would include companies’ debts (some of which the courier companies may not be able to collect).
“Besides, these companies currently pay numerous taxes, which include Company Income Tax, VAT and levies by various states of the federation, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and airport charges, throughput charges by the FAAN pension funds and the NSITF, the NHF, local government charges, signage fees of various states, etc.).
“The industry is currently beset with a variety of taxes at national and sub-national levels.”
Mabogunje also expressed the LCCI’s discomfort with the exclusive powers granted to the Public Postal Operator (PPO) in Section 10 (1) (a), (b), (h), (j) and (r) of the bill for “collecting, accepting, processing, conveying and delivering postal articles weighing up to one kilogramme and delivering postal articles with the tariff of less than five times the rate of postage applicable to the particular weight class.”