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Outrage on social media over NIPOST license fee increment

NIPOST’s attempt to increase the registration fees for courier firms has generated outrage.

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Nigeria’s broadband penetration rate increased by 10% in 2020, hits 43.3%, 13 new space stations get landing permit from NCC, NITDA, Isa Patanmi, FG denies issuing 5G license to telcos, despite MTN, Huawei's 5G-demo launch last year

The Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) recently announced new fees for courier and logistic business operators in Nigeria, provoking anger amongst Nigerians on social media. NIPOST increased the new license fees for Municipal operators to N1 million, and annual renewals fees to 40% of new license fees at N400,000.00 a year.

State operators’ fees rose to N2 million, regional to N5 million, national to N10 million, while international operators are meant to pay N20 million as license fees. All license renewal fees are pegged at 40% of license fees per zone.

The protest

Concerned Nigerians protested online with the hashtag, #SayNoToNipostFee.

“NIPOST should not be allowed to charge these ridiculous fees, @femigbaja, Thousands of young Nigerians have lost jobs in the last few months. Some turned to courier services. A friend who lost his job bought these from Oride. Please don’t let him commit suicide. #SayNoToNipostFee,” writes Dr Dipo Awojide, a senior lecturer in strategy and personal development coach.

He urged the House Speaker in another tweet to block the approval of the price increase. “Dear @femigbaja, please block this needless policy by Nipost that will cripple thousands of small businesses. Thousands of young people have created their own jobs and are trying to just survive. This will kill thousands of #MSMEs. Please don’t let it happen. Counting on you sir,” he tweeted.

READ MORE: Nigerians will now pay N50 stamp duty on electronic receipts – FIRS

Some Nigerians accused the agency of using their regulatory might to strangle local competition with the new license fee increase as Twitter influencer Oloye says, “Let me get this straight. NIPOST bought a bunch of bikes and decided to tax the competition out of the market. Effectively monopolising a business that serves millions of people. This should be illegal and I’ll be writing my reps in the National Assembly on it.”

The reactions forced the Minister of Communications Dr. Isa Pantami to respond to the outrage. Dr Pantami denied giving the approval of the price increase. This is yet to quell the anger of most Nigerians.

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Other Influencers started an online petition, getting the NIPOST price increases to be dropped.

“We can’t keep being quiet. Lend your voice by signing this petition. Say No To NIPOST Fee – Sign the Petition! @Change #SayNoToNipostFee”

READ MORE: Nigeria’s retail outlets risk CBN sanction, debit N50 PoS fee from customers 

Business owner, Anita Vams says the new regulation would frustrate her business as she quit her 9-5 to become a business owner.

I didn’t quit my 8-6 to become a full-time entrepreneur and a hustler for Nipost to frustrate my business. A graduate of mass communication but now a full-time entrepreneur. I won’t be forced to the street or beg to feed. #SayNoToNipostFee,” Vams said.

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The reactions even got the attention of the Nigerian entertainment industry, as Film Maker, Imoh Umoren complained that monopolizing the sector would lead to inefficiencies, citing his last experience with NIPOST.

NIPOST one of the top 3 most ineffective government agency want to monopolize logistics. Imagine ordering food and waiting for NIPOST to deliver it, they’ll bring it 3 days later. Last time I used them they shouted at me to come and get my parcel from their office,” Umoren said.

However, NIPOST has said that the new regulations are to ensure efficiency in the sector as operators can operate on different levels they have licenses for.

In the statement by NIPOST spokesman Franklin Alao, the postal service says the regulation was brought in to ensure business growth for SMEs not frustrate them and create an enabling environment, adding that the Minister of Communications gave considerations before NIPOST arrived at the charges.

READ MORE: Pantami reacts to CBN’s ATM fee cut, keeps mute on directive to cut data cost 

The statement read in part:

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“It is part of the strategies to ensure effective service delivery as consumers would know the capacities of the operators they are dealing with. Where there can be issues is where a courier/logistics company with capacity for a local government area wants to operate on a state-wide or nation-wide scale. This would not be acceptable.

“If your license is for a state, limit your operations to the state/ region.” Kindly note that consumers of the courier service would be better off as this will drive charlatans out of the industry. Genuine and serious operators would come back to celebrate this move by the NIPOST.”

Recall that the FIRS also increased stamp duty charges for rents this week and also clarified in a statement that the up to 50 types of transactions fall under Stamp duty charges after there was also an online uproar over the new charges.

FIRS also clarified that its Adhesive Stamp was not the same as postage stamp which is administered by NIPOST for the purposes of delivery of items and documents.

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“Instruments include Agreements, Contracts, Receipts, Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), Promissory notes, Insurance policies and others stipulated in the Schedule to the Stamp Duties Act. Stamp Duty is chargeable on both physical and electronic instruments in two ways i.e. Ad-valorem, where duty payable is a percentage of the consideration on an instrument; or Flat Rate, where a fixed sum is chargeable irrespective of the consideration on dutiable instrument or document.” Mr Muhammad Nami, Executive Chairman of FIRS, said in a public Notice.

 

READ MORE: Bike-hailing firms in talks with Lagos State to resume operations

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Business

CBN reportedly suspends Paystack and other non-bank financial institutions from offering BVN validation services

Non-banks may have to look for alternative ways to carry out identity verification for their users, following new CBN regulation.

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Fintech

The Central Bank of Nigeria has reportedly suspended finTechs and other third-party partners from offering BVN validation service.

This was made known in an email from Paystack to customers which stated, “We’ve recently been made aware of a regulatory directive from the primary custodian of Nigeria’s BVN service to all their partners to suspend the provision of the BVN validation service to their third-party partners. This directive affects every non-bank in Nigeria that offers BVN Validation services. In light of this news, we’re hereby informing you that the BVN Resolve service will be temporarily unavailable starting at midnight, April 8, 2021.”

READ: How scammers use SIM cards to rob your bank accounts

READ: CBN instruct banks to close accounts related to Crypto

What this means

This suspension could mean that non-banks will have to look for alternative ways to carry out identity verification (KYC) for their users through NIN, Voters ID, Driver’s license etc.

Details soon…

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MTN USSD dispute: Meetings with banks, others still inconclusive

MTN has confirmed in a statement that the issue with banks regarding USSD services is yet to be resolved.

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Bank CEOs, NCC, CBN to meet over USSD charges

Series of meetings held among MTN, commercial banks and FinTechs to align on longer-term pricing structures on USSD services appeared inconclusive.

This was confirmed by the Telco giant in a statement issued by its spokesperson, Funso Aina on Thursday.

According to the statement, which was seen by Nairametrics, MTN stated that the streamlining it undertook is international standard and best practice as scale is built along distribution channels.

It stated, “We will provide a further market update once these discussions have been concluded. The streamlining MTN undertook is international standard and best practice as scale is built along distribution channels. We are confident that partners in the banking sector will work with us to ensure this process concludes as quickly as possible to the benefit of the entire industry.”

READ: FG stops telecom firms from withdrawing USSD services as minister intervenes

Full statement below

Update on banking channel partners’ dispute and expansion of channel network.

Following the temporary suspension of sales of MTN products through our banking channel partners on April 2, 2021, services were restored on Sunday, April 4, 2021 with customers able to access all services.

This was agreed on the basis that MTN would revert to its previous cost of sales structures with banking partners until a new long-term agreement can be reached on a sustainable pricing structure going forward.

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Consequent on the intervention of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, the Nigeria Communication Commission and the Central Bank of Nigeria, since April 6, 2021, MTN has been participating in a series of meetings to align on longer-term pricing structures.

READ: NIPOST reclaim stamp duty collection from FIRS after years of dispute

We will provide a further market update once these discussions have been concluded. The streamlining MTN undertook is international standard and best practice as scale is built along distribution channels. We are confident that partners in the banking sector will work with us to ensure this process concludes as quickly as possible to the benefit of the entire industry.

MTN would like to thank our customers for their patience, and express our regret at the inconvenience imposed on them while banking channels were offline. In order to further expand the range of channels available to customers, MTN has activated a number of new channel partnerships with fintech partners and these will remain in place, significantly expanding the channels available to our customers and increasing our sales and distribution network.

READ: CBN freezes 11 bank accounts of companies, individual

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The new channel partners include Sparkle, Konga Pay, Barter By Flutterwave, Jumia Pay, OPay, Kuda, Carbon, BillsnPay, MTN On-Demand, MTN Xtratime airtime loans (*606#), myMTN Web http://mymtn.com.ng and Momo agent *223#.

We would also like to thank the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, the Nigeria Communication Commission and the Central Bank of Nigeria for their rapid intervention and we look forward to a mutually acceptable solution that empowers all ecosystem participants.

READ: CBN: Over N3 trillion (72%) of Intervention Funds remain outstanding

What you should know

  • Banks lifted the ban placed on MTN subscribers from recharging their lines or data plan via Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), according to Nairametrics.
  • This was confirmed by our analyst, who recharged his line using the USSD code of GTBank last Sunday.

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