The Federal Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Ibrahim Pantami, in July 2020, approved the Courier and Logistics Services (Operations) Regulations, 2020 (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Regulations’), to enhance the operations of courier and logistics services in Nigeria. The Regulations repealed the Courier Service (Operations) Regulations, 1992. The objective of the Regulations is to “provide a regulatory framework for effective and efficient Courier and Logistic Services licensing processes and procedures and the regulation of the Courier and Logistics industry in Nigeria”.
The Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) serves as the regulatory body for courier and logistics operations, as well as a provider of such services in Nigeria. The enforcement of the Regulations is vested in the Courier Regulatory Department of NIPOST.
This article provides 12 key insights into the Regulations. These insights are succinctly captured below:
- Definition of Courier and Logistics Services
Courier service is defined as “door-to-door time-sensitive and secured service, and includes delivery of documents parcel, merchandise, cargo whose total weight is not less than 0.5kg and not more than 50kg”. Similarly, logistics services are defined as “services which include haulage, conveyance, dispatch or delivery of items or goods weighing not less than 50kg”. [Regulation 12].
- Creation of New Licensing Categories
Previously, there were only two licensing categories- national and international. The 2020 Regulations created four additional licence categories viz Regional, State, Municipal and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). [Regulation 2].
- New Licensing Fees
Regulation 2 further provides new licensing and renewal fees for Courier companies. The fee schedule is captured in Table 1.0 below:
|Categories||New licensing fees||Renewal fees|
|International Courier Licence||N20,000,000.00||N8,000, 000.00|
|National Courier Licence||N10,000,000.00||N4,000,000.00|
|Regional Courier Licence||N5,000,000.00||N2,000,000.00|
|State Courier Licence||N2,000,000.00||N800,000.00|
|Municipal Courier Licence||N1, 000, 000.00||N400, 000.00|
|Special SME Courier Licence||N250, 000.00||N100, 000.00|
- Timeline for Licence Application
An application for licence would be determined within 30 days of receipt of the application. [Regulation 3(6)].
- Duration of a Licence
A licence is valid for 1 year. It may be renewed not later than 3 months before expiration. Where the Licensee fails to renew the licence within this timeframe, a penalty of 50% of the renewal fees will be paid in addition to the renewal fees. [Regulation 3(7)].
6. Refusal of Licence
A company will not be licensed if the Minister believes that from all evidence and information supplied, it is not suitable to operate in the Sector or public interest supersedes the company’s application. [Regulation 2(3)].
7. Obligation to facilitate free delivery
Any licenced courier/logistics service may be requested by the Minister, through the Postmaster General, to effect free delivery for Universal Postal Service obligations or any Social Service Delivery for national interest. [Regulation 8(6)].
8. Resolution of Complaints
Operators must resolve complaints from customers within 30 days of such complaint. They must also maintain a Customer Care Unit for this purpose. [Regulation 9]
9. Revocation of Licence
The Regulation provides instances where a licence may be revoked or de-registered. Some of these instances include:
- Breach of the conditions attached to the licence and failure to rectify the breach within 14 days of being notified.
- Where the Licensee surrenders the licence by a request in writing.
- Where the Licensee is unable to settle its debts.
- Failure to renew a licence within three (3) months before expiration.
- Where a Licensee is convicted of a criminal offence.
- Where the Licensee carries on an activity outside the scope of its licence.
10. Migration of Licence
Licensees can migrate from one licence to another. To achieve this, the Licensee must migrate or show an intention to migrate before the expiration of the current licence period. [Regulation 3(4)].
11. Referral of specific items to NIPOST for delivery
Courier service operators must record and refer items/articles such as rights issues, share certificates, statements of accounts, cheques, letters or offer documents weighing below 0.5kg sent to them for delivery to the nearest NIPOST office for processing and delivery. Failure to comply with this requirement attracts a penalty of 90% of the amount charged on the item by such an operator. [Regulation 8(7)].
12. Contribution to the Postal Fund
Courier and Logistics companies are mandated to contribute 2% of their total revenues to the postal fund, which will be used for postal development and delivery of postal services in rural and underserved states. [Regulation 8(5)].
All told, the Courier and Logistics Services (Operations) Regulations, 2020 adequately provides a regulatory framework for courier and logistics services in Nigeria. The new licensing categories exist to encourage business development, especially for SMEs. However, a major concern for industry players remains the licensing fees which are excessive for most operators in the sector.
Also, it is pertinent to state that the application and renewal process for a Courier licence has been simplified by the Courier Regulatory Department of NIPOST. The process can be concluded on the online portal via http://crd.nipost.gov.ng/.
Grace Kalu, Esq. can be reached via the email: email@example.com