The Postmaster-General, Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) Dr. Adebayo Adewusi, yesterday lamented that the agency’s revenue has dwindled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, calling for an urgent intervention to save the service from winding up.
Adewusi who raised the alarm at the ongoing interaction on the 2023-2025 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Finance, said the revenue of the agency had been going down since 2020, as a result of COVID-19 which he said affected 60 to 65 per cent of its revenue which comes from exporting of mails.
He said in 2021, NIPOST generated N3.9 billion but could not remit anything to government coffers, adding that a couple of products had been developed to advanced stages assuring that when they become fully operational, the agency’s revenue would improve.
He said, “When you take half of our revenue, that you are saying in essence is that we should shut down business. The truth of the matter is that our cost of operation is higher than our revenue. Last year, we had a deficit of about N1.7 billion.
“The way we are today, NIPOST is in comatose, it is just a matter of time before NIPOST dies if no intervention is made.”
Reacting, the Deputy Chairman of the Committee Hon. Abdulallhi Saidu said he was aware of the difficulties faced by NIPOST.
He said the Finance Act 2020 states that partially funded agencies like NIPOST should pay 50 per cent of their revenue into government coffers.
He recommended that the finance committee, the supervising committee and management of NIPOST should work together, explore their networks to get NIPOST back on its feet again.
Earlier, the Registrar of the National Business and Technical Examinations Board (NABTEB), Prof. Ifeoma Isiugo-Abanihe, told the committee that the board was in need of a bailout.
She said compared to WAEC and NECO, the number of candidates who sit for NABTEB are very few and some state governments who sponsored candidates from their states are owing the agency.
She also said the exams are conducted on credit for the state governments involved out of hardship and the need to encourage them and the students to take the exams.
The registrar added that monies released to run the agency was barely enough for the board to mobilise and organise examinations annually.
According to her, in 2021, N1.5 billion was generated and N1.4 billion was spent, adding that N2.8 billion, N3.20 billion, N3.4 billion has been projected for 2023, 2024 and 2025 respectively.
Meanwhile, the lawmakers resolved to carry out a status inquiry on the accounts of the National Information Technology Agency (NITDA).
The resolution followed discrepancies observed in NITDA records and records made available by the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) on the amount remitted into government coffers by NITDA.
The committee directed a reconciliation of accounts between both agencies alongside Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) and report back on Monday, September 12.
Culled from THISDAY