ADEBAYO Shittu, minister of communications, has said that the federal government, through his ministry, will improve on the potential of the Nigeria Postal Services, NIPOST, by adding banking services to its functions. He said the agency had several buildings in the remote parts of Nigeria that could be converted to banks to aid transfer of money between rural and urban centres.
The minister, who spoke at a media event organised by the League of Veteran Journalists, Oyo State Chapter, in Ibadan, said the agency had been too idle in the past years, noting that a NIPOST bank capable of offering e-banking services would serve people in the rural communities.
“The government can establish NIPOST bank capable of doing e-banking. With the properties we have all over Nigeria, our buildings can serve as cash depot for people living in the rural communities where banks are not present. By doing so, we will improve on the efficiency of the agency and solve cash receipt and transfer problems among people living in those communities,” he said.
The minister added that government properties lying idle across the country would also be activated for optimum use in order to increase government revenue sources. Shittu said, “There are many locations (where NIPOST buildings were built); for example, the Ikoyi Post Office is sitting on 10 acres of land, we are planning to build offices and shopping malls on public/private partnership arrangement.
“This will bring more money for the government. NIPOST is going to be a 21st century postal agency that will compete with other companies like banks, be it local or foreign. To make this work, we plan to acquire helicopters to aid and ensure quick and perfect services.”
According to the minister, the federal government is losing about $287million in revenue to software piracy annually, adding that his ministry had stepped up intellectual property protection and enforcement mechanisms to ensure promotion of creativity. Shittu noted that with the continuous growth in the demand for online workers in the international and local markets, Nigeria was prepared to train its youths and enhance their Information and Communication Technology capacity.
He added, “As the largest economy in Africa, Nigeria is already a regional hub for West African countries. We must now become the preferred destination for vendors to set up operations that cover the entire West African sub-region. This will provide opportunity for the country to act as a supply hub for training, skills transfer, technology leadership and investments.”
— May 30, 2016 @ 01:00 GMT