Post banking could be an alternative for #NoBankingDay advocates in Nigeria

In the aftermath of complaints surrounding excess banking charges imposed on Nigerians, the country’s Communications Minister, Alhaji Adebayo Shittu, has said that soon, people will have an alternative to traditional banking. According to him, the Nigerian Postal Service, NIPOST, will soon introduce ‘Post Bank’ to bring banking services to rural dwellers. Vanguard Nigeria reports that the minister said Post Bank will provide rural dwellers with access to banking services through NIPOST offices across the country.

NIPOST is the federal government’s courier service and already offers EMS, Bulk Post Venture, NIPOST Central Workshop, Philatelic Services, Courier Regulatory Services, Parcel Post Venture and Nipost PostCash.

Post banking refers to a postal savings system to provide depositors, who do not have access to banks, a safe and convenient method to save money. It is a way of promoting savings among the less affluent people in society.

Aside from rural dwellers, other Nigerians can take advantage of this opportunity to explore options which do not warrant a N50 stamp duty imposed by the government for certain banking transactions.

A good number of Nigerians spend a lot of money on daily expenses. For instance, the average Lagosians, who spend as much as N1000 daily on lunch, transportation and several miscellaneous expenses, have repeatedly complained on social media about the deductions made on their accounts by banks, ranging from SMS charges to ATM card renewals.

While the newly introduced stamp duty is a problem for many Nigerians, the reality is the government is unlikely to retract its decision and revoke the policy. As a way of fighting back, Nigerian NGOs summoned the general populace on Twitter, calling for a boycott of banks on March 1, 2016, tagging it #NoBankingDay.  This was done in order to urge the Central Bank and the government to take action against the commercial banks in the country.

Much to everyone’s surprise, the boycott hardly scratched the surface of the issue as many Nigerians still went to the banks on the said day and many more conducted online transactions. This was followed with criticism from people who felt the problem would be attended to if the boycott transcended twitter and all other social media to the streets, just like the 2012 protest on the fuel subsidy removal, OccupyNigeria.

However, this decision on post banking by the Nigerian Minister of Communication shows that, at least, the government is dedicated to providing an alternative to regular banking especially for the rural dwellers who either have sparse financial resources or are not knowledgeable in the area of banking.

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