Professional Training Of Operators In Line With FG Empowerment Programme For Youths–NIPOST

Dotun Shonde, GM Courier And Logistics Regulatory Department, NIPOST

As the mandatory professional and certification training programme for dispatch riders and delivery drivers in Lagos, enters its third week, the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) says the exercise and several other innovations by the service are geared towards achieving the noble policy of the present administration, especially in the area of gainfully employing the youths.

At an interactive session in Lagos, the General Manager, Courier and Regulatory Department of NIPOST, Mr. Dotun Shonde noted the the measures are also aimed at checking insecurity and criminal acts, as have been reported mostly among unlicensed courier and logistics operators. The mandatory training programme officially kicked-off on the 11th of this month and will run for 20 weeks.

Mr. Shonde who expressed joy that the exercise was going-on smoothly as planned, believed that at the end of the process,sanity would return to the industry, adding that NIPOST was committed to the effort, among others targeted at actualising the plan of government to get the youths occupied.

He explained that in creating employment for youths in the courier and logistics industry, the service had to ammend the categories of licencing to include the SME category that is quite affordable.

He said, “It is in line with the present day government’s policy to see the youths occupied, see that the Nigerian youths are employed. Our challenge is to have employable youths. So what NIPOST is doing is to create a category of license. We call it STATE/SMEs to accommodate all these youths, so that they can be empowered, and see something doing.

“Before now, we had only two (2) categories-International and National. Most of them cannot afford that. Now we have broken it down and the least of them is the SME to accommodate the Nigerian youths”.

On checking insecurity, Shonde said, “We just don’t want all-comers’ affair, do as you like mentality. Though there is proliferation, there must be regulation. And that is the ecosystem we are trying to build so that we don’t have criminals becoming employed or people carrying out illicit acts under the disguise of dispatch riders and delivery drivers. We want to be sure that each person employed is adequately trained and empowered. That is going to go a long way in solving the security threat we have”.

According to Shonde, the ongoing training which NIPOST is planning to replicate in all the states is for the good interest of the operators and that they should not see it as a punishment. He said in addition to getting the operators professionally certified, training them is a way of enhancing productivity, just as it will help to boost the image of the industry.
While urging companies to prioritise the training of their staff members, Mr. Shonde remarked that the training programme has already started yielding positive result as more of the operators are beginning to behave responsibly on the road.

He reiterated that the mandate is to synergise with other agencies of government in building an ecosystem in which all dispatch riders and delivery drivers are properly licensed and profiled, thereby flushing out all those involved in unethical conducts that threaten the economy and security of the country.

His words, “Training is an investment. Training is not a punishment. We use training to provide solution where there are issues we want to address. There are different means that are person can use. Training is a tool. And it will interest you to know that it is mandatory because it is statutorily provided for.

“For instance, the courier and logistics regulatory guidelines provide that every staff of a licensed company must be trained. Companies are encouraged to invest in their staff. If you pay monkey because you have banana, so what you are paying is mennial wage. What you will get is monkey to work for you. But if you invest in your staff , you get the best from them. So training is a toolb, is a means to get people professionally.

“What we want to do is operationalize the industry. We have been on ground since 2001and companies have been coming for their staff to be trained. What we find now is because of the proliferation. The boom that was actually necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. So what we have is all-comers affair. We have so much on our hands. That is why it appears they are too much. It is not a new thing. The training is an ongoing thing.

“It has been awesome. It has been fantastic. Some of the participants have been interviewed. They have been so wonderful. They have been really thankful because most of them are actually coming newly. People have been licensed as far back as 1985. Those ones are used to it. But not so for the new people, who are just coming between 2020 till date because of the pandemic. They have never been trained and that’s the reason we have unethical practices on the road. There is public disdain because of this operational act we have moved to curb.

“Those we have trained, from their testimonies, they now know how to comport themselves, things they didn’t know before. For God sake, a professional won’t carry a child in the box or tank. Its illegal. Its unprofessional. You won’t take one-way. Now they are exposed to the traffic rules and regulations. Now they are exposed to the professional conducts. Intact they are exposed to how to dress. Their appearance as a professional dispatch rider. Some of them actually confessed to that because they never knew and of course they have never been trained. Some of them have been working for two (2) years and never been trained. You see people transform from passenger motocyle riders ,Okada in local parlance to dispatch riders without training. They bring that orientation into the industry and that’s not healthy to the corporate image of the industry.

“We feel quite bad because it bothers on the corporate image of the industry. Once you get one person involve in it, people will think that’s what everybody is doing. So, it has a multiplier effect on those who are actually complying. It is not good for the industry. Most of the things filter out. It has security implication on other road users. If you see some of them, they are not even branded. Some that are branded, you see only phone number or email. So we have bunch of complaints and it is worrisome when people patronise them and they are duped or their goods are destroyed.

“The benefits are enormous. One, we are building an ecosystem. Ecosystem provides that every company that employs dispatch riders or delivery drivers are properly profiled. That has not been happening. That has been part of the problem. If they are on that ecosystem, you cannot behave that way, because you will be flashed. Everybody will know. So, that will curtail.

“Secondly, each rider is going to be operationalized. You know that you are certified and so you will not want to lose your certificates, just like doctors that won’t want to lose their certificates to practice. So,now they are certified, they have that sense of responsibility. And ofcourse, they will be trained and retrained”

One the recent protest by some dispatch riders in Lagos, over alleged compulsion to have multiple riders cards,Mr. Shonde responded saying, “It is a problem of mixed multitude. People who do not even know their left from their right. Those protesting are actually illegal operators, unlicensed and unregistered ones. They don’t even know the requirements. Some of them have nor done their visibility reports or surveys.

“For instance, if you are a motorist, it is mandatory that you have a drivers license. So for any driver or any dispatch rider, you are supposed to have a license. The license is a tripartite arrangement of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Motor Vehicle Authority and VIO. What they issue is the driver’s license which is just one. Now other things they are complaining about which they don’t know is to their advantage. It is a certification card that Lagos State Drivers’ Institute (LASDRI) issues. LASDRI is an agency in the ministry of transport, empowered to train drivers. So we have decided to partner with them to train dispatch riders and delivery drivers so that they can be certified as professionals.

“We have this partnership and is aimed at achieving the ecosystem that each certified professionally trained dispatch rider will be given a card, a form of security unified identification which will contain their data base that the police can use and any other government agency can use. So we are trying to build an ecosystem where the data base would be established. We are not issuing multiple cards. It is not in our power to issue license. What we give is the operational licence.

“So, you see government agencies trying to synergize, work together to bring about a one stop shop. We are trying to have a unified system, by synergising. These agencies are working to have an active data base of all dispatch riders in Nigeria, not just in Lagos, so that at any point in time, you will make reference to it”, he added.

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