Nigerian Postal Service Act, Cap N127 of 1992 has over the years, enjoyed a
revered membership among the ranks of old, tired and impractical laws in the
Nigerian Legal Regime. Enacted in 1992, the Act established the Nigerian Postal
service (NIPOST), a corporate entity with the exclusive privilege of conveying
letters from one place to another where postal communication has been
established. The Act was not the first legislation concerned with postal
services, it in fact repealed the then existing “Nigerian Postal Service

in recent times the NIPOST although still barely clinging to life, has been in
a debilitating condition, with each passing day a loss of its relevance in the courier
service industry. It is argued that a lot of factors including the rise of many
international courier service companies such as FedEx, DHL and so many others;
not forgetting the rise of many local logistics companies such as EFEX, GIG and
so many more, might have contributed to the decline of our national postal
service authority. Another factor that definitely brought this reality, was the
poor administration and archaic regulatory procedures infused in the service.
In truth, the Government absolute ownership and administration of such a
pivotal department particularly in light of changing systems of Government from
the military era to democracy was instrumental to NIPOST decline.

a BILL before the Senate for an ACT to repeal Sections 43-51 of the Nigerian
Postal Service Act 1992 and the establishment of the Nigerian Postal Services
Commission, passed third reading and is well on the way to become law. On 19th,
July, 2018, Nigeria Postal Services Act CAP N127 LFN 2004 (repeal and
re-enactment) Bill, 2018 (SB. 106 & 437) was read the THIRD time and

courier service sector will in no distant time witness a massive reform. From
the existing law, NIPOST which is a government owned corporation responsible
for providing postal service in the country has been acting as both operator
and regulator, a situation that has clearly impacted negatively on the growth
of the public angle of the sector. According to the Honorable Minister for
communication Abdu-Rheem Adebayo Shittu esq.

the Bill is signed into law, NIPOST will concentrate on its functions as an
operator in the Nigeria’s postal system, hence the need for the reforms so that
it can make its pitch for a share of the deregulated Courier and Logistics”.

of the bill in contrast with the
existing laws reveals some unique changes.

in Section1 (One), is the establishment of the Nigerian Postal Services
Commission, this commission is otherwise, according to the bill, known as “the
Agency”, basically this Bill seeks to establish the Nigeria Postal Services
Commission which shall be responsible for regulating the Courier Service
Industry in Nigeria in order to take its supervision and control away from
NIPOST which is a player in the industry in line with the present National and
global policy of liberalization and commercialization for effective service
delivery and to bring the Courier Service Industry in Nigeria to international
standards. A laudable strike.

functions of the Agency include the following –

(a) regulate
the operation and business of Courier and Postal Services in Nigeria;

(b) receive
applications and grant approvals, licences and renewals to deserving and
competent persons applying to operate Courier Services in Nigeria.

(c) set
standards, guidelines and rules for the operation of Courier and other Postal
Services in Nigeria.

(d) the
Protection and promotion of interests of consumers against unfair practices
including but not limited to matters relating to unauthorized opening of sealed
articles, theft, loss, diversion of and damage to parcels.

(e) ensuring
that licensees implement and operate at all times within the purview of their
licence, terms and conditions having regard to best international practices and

(f) the
promotion of fair competition in the Courier Service industry and protection of
Courier Service Providers against anti-competitive and unfair practices.

(g) fixing
and collecting of fees in grant of licences and other regulatory services
provided by the Agency.

(h)making and
enforcement of sanctions against breaches of the provisions of this Act or Regulations
made there-under for service providers.

(J) the
formulation and management of Nigeria’s inputs into the setting of international
standards for effective Courier and Postal Services operations.

encouraging and promoting infrastructure sharing amongst licensees and
providing guidelines thereon.

examining and resolving complaints, objections and disputes between licenced
operators, customers and any other person involved in the courier and Postal
services industry using such dispute resolution methods as the Agency may
determine from time to time including mediation and arbitration.

designing, managing and implementing universal Courier practices, strategies
and programmes in accordance with Federal Government’s general policies and
objectives. (m) advising the Minister on the formulation of the general policy
for the communication industry with emphasis on Courier service operations in
the exercise of the minister’s functions and responsibilities.

of the Government’s general policies on courier services and the execution of
all such other functions and responsibilities as are given to the Agency under
this Act or incidental or related thereto.

(0) generally
advising and assisting the Courier Services industry and its Practitioners with
a view to the development of the industry and attaining the objectives of this
Act and its subsidiary legislation.

representation of Nigeria at proceedings of international organisations on
matters relating to the Courier and Postal Services industry and other matters
ancillary and connected thereto.

(q) the
Agency shall at all times carry out its functions and duties and exercise its
powers under this Act efficiently, effectively and in a nondiscriminatory and
transparent manner and in a way that is best calculated to ensure healthy
growth of Courier Service Operations in Nigeria subject to the regulatory
controls specified in this Act, and its subsidiary legislation.

the Bill attempts to remove all regulatory powers whatsoever from NIPOST, as
seen in the repealed Sections 43-51 of the extant act, which gives powers to
NIPOST to grant, renew, and revoke licenses on other courier service
organizations. These powers have been bestowed solely on the Commission as
indicated in the proposed part V (sections 18-30) of the Bill.

particularly, Section 18 of the Bill provides that –

Subject to the Provisions of Subsection (2) of this section, no person shall
operate Courier Services in Nigeria unless the person

(a) is registered as a company under or Pursuant to the Companies

Allied Matters Act; and

(b) is licensed as a Courier Services Operator under the
provisions of this

Act or any Regulation made there under

Notwithstanding subsection (1) of this section, a company wishing to operate
courier services may apply to the Agency within six months of the commencement
of this Act to be licensed under the provisions of this Act

(3) A
person not licensed under the provisions of this section shall cease to operate
Courier Services in any part of Nigeria.

conclusion, it must be understood that the Bill does not repeal the existing
Act. It simply broadens the spectrum that cuts through regulation of the
courier service industry. The sections repealed in the Bill are selectively
chosen to quash all existing regulatory powers of the NIPOST. The Bill cleverly
segregates Operation from Regulation. When it becomes Law, NIPOST shall become
just like the other courier service companies hustling for a robust customer
base, hence, testifying to governmental liberalization in the sector.

Eseoghene  Palmer Esq