The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has expressed concern over some provisions of the Nigerian Postal Service Bill 2021 that are detrimental to private sector investment in the courier industry.
Mrs Toki Mabogunje, President, LCCI, made the chamber’s position known at its quarterly State of the Economy Press Conference on Tuesday in Lagos.
The Nigerian Senate had on June 8 passed the Nigerian Postal Service (Repeal and Reenactment) Bill, which restricts the agency’s operation to the country and bars it from engaging in tax collection.
Mabogunje listed the Chamber’s concerns about the bill to include the requirement for licensees to contribute two per cent of annual turnover, and the exclusive powers of the Public Postal Operator.
“The Chamber notes the passage of the Nigerian Postal Service Bill 2021 by the Senate and we have taken a critical look at the Bill and we are seriously concerned about several provisions of the bill.
“These provisions are 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, Value Added Tax, levies by various states of the federation, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and airport charges, throughput charges by FAAN pension funds and NSITF, NHF, local government charges, signage fees of various states, e.t.c.
“The industry is currently beset with a variety of taxes at national and sub national levels,” she said.
She proposed that the provisions of exclusive powers of the Public Postal Operator as contained in– Section 10 (1) (a), (b), (h), (j) and (r) be expunged from the bill.
Mabogunje also called for the deletion of Section 9 (1) (n) of the bill which provides that the Public Postal Operator may without warrant, enter and search a building or carrier, including aircraft, vehicle or container, which he has reason to believe is connected with the commission of an offence.
She said such prerogative should be the responsibility of the regulator (i.e the Commission) and law enforcement agencies.
The LCCI President also proposed that clarity be provided to third-party investors in the sector.
He said that it should establish confidence in investors when allocating resources within the postal sector.
“There must be distinctions in terms of preparation of regulations and subsequent enforceability and the relationship between the Nigerian Postal Commission, the Postmaster General and the Public Postal operator.
“Is there any independence between the Nigerian Postal Commission and the Public Postal Operator, and if so, can this be articulated in the Bill?
“How different is the current administrative arrangement relating to regulation and enforcement from the proposed new structure with the Nigerian Postal Commission and with its proposed newly established board?
“These are some of our concerns about the Nigerian Postal Services Bill 2021.