Minister of Information Gospel Kazako has said it is sad that only government parastatal, Malawi Posts Corporation (MPC) is serving rural communities while all other private postal and courier service players in the sector are just concentrating in the cities and towns.
He thus asked Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority (MACRA) to ensure that appropriate regulatory incentives are provided to operators that are showing willingness to serve the rural communities — which has the right to efficient postal and courier services.
Kazako said this when graced the handover ceremony of a computer lab which MACRA donated to Nsanje Secondary School on Friday to commemorate World Post Day under the theme ‘Renovate to Recover’.
“In Malawi, and every country across the globe, postal services play a vital role in the exchange of information and goods among the people,” Kazako said.
“Here in Malawi, one cannot talk of communication operators that have a direct presence within rural communities without talking of the Post Office.
“One cannot talk of the exchange of parcels and important business documents between cities, towns and villages without mentioning courier operators. In other words, postal and courier service providers remain an integral part for communications in Malawi and should be commended for the role they play in the development of the country.”
He said the World Post Day is celebrated to reflect on the great role the country’s postal sector has been playing since time immemorial and took cognizance that there has been new developments of marketing strategies that have seen the introduction of postal financial services and parcels and logistics services.
“Now the post office isn’t just about selling stamps but has introduced a number of value adding services. As Government, we are looking into the issue of having the National Postal Policy to fill in the gaps that have brought confusion in the industry.
“Through such a policy and subsequent regulatory interventions, Government expects the postal industry that is vibrant and inclusive enough.”
He said the global post day — which is celebrated on November 9 but MACRA chose Friday, the 12th to accommodate the donation for Nsanje Secondary School — is for special recognition to the thousands of workers in the postal and courier industry who work towards connecting rural communities, towns and cities.
He added that the 180 post offices dotted across the length and breadth of the country are all-inclusive since almost all communities have access to them, and citizens are never turned away from them.
He made special mention that the first postal service in the country was initiated in Nsanje, whose courier services was mostly through train services.
“So today, as we celebrate the World Post Day, Government recognizes that postal services have great potential in delivering essential social and economic services to all Malawians across the country.
“My plea to operators in the sector is that don’t get complacent with the gains that have been made over the years but keep on being innovative through the introduction of new services to consumers across Malawi.
“It should be our goal that we reach the remotest parts of Malawi especially those underserved communities that are disconnected from the information superhighway.”
At its 2019 Universal Postal Union (UPU) Congress held in Bern, Switzerland, MPC was recognized with an ‘Outstanding Implementation’ award through the specified project it initiated named ‘Mail Conveyance Between District Administrative Centres and Rural Offices’.
MPC received funding from UPU some two years earlier which Malawi requested to buy motorcycles to improve mail conveyance services between district administration centres and rural post offices.
After the money was disbursed, an UPU envoy visited Malawi to make an audit of the project and reported back to headquarters in Bern, which was impressed and awarded MPC.
Kazako applauded the solidarity displayed by MACRA and its licensed postal and courier operators in making financial and material contribution to support Nsanje Secondary School.
“This really demonstrates how close you the postal and courier operators are with Malawian communities. Most of the times, you are their first point of call in times of celebration, distress and sorrow.”
In his remarks, MACRA Board member Alekeni Menyani said they decided to support the school through recognition that before talking of strategies and plans for the future of the postal industry, it is paramount to look at the environment and communities the sector serves.
“It doesn’t look good that our businesses should be prospering when the communities we serve are facing difficulties in accessing basic public services,” he said.
This is why as a regulator of postal services in the country, MACRA and the operators in the postal and courier industry took keen interest in the establishment of a computer lab here at Nsanje Secondary School, which has a total of 300 students.
“As an organization that prides itself in social responsibility, MACRA couldn’t just sit back and watch students here being denied access to ICT lessons due to lack of modern ICT facilities.”
He added that MACRA and its operators believe that giving back to the communities in which they serve is not just an improvement of public service delivery but also an investment in the future.
“At a time when some sectors might be questioning the relevance of the postal industry in the face of fast changing technologies, it is pleasing to note that our postal services have been quite innovative and have come up with new services and products.
“Our plea to our licensed postal and courier operators is to put the welfare of consumers at the heart of your services. MACRA promises to support you so that you are able to address the gaps that are presently there in terms of service delivery as well as consolidating all the positive gains that have been made this far.”
Menyani quoted UPU Director General, Ambassador Bishar Hussein as saying on November 9: “CoVID-19 not only halted much of the international postal sector for significant periods, but it also undermined business strategies and plans. Against this background, the sector was forced to become creative and develop new ideas and methods to serve customers”.
Menyani said it was pleasing that MACRA’s operators “have really worked hard by coming up with new innovations to improve service delivery for traders who are now using internet to order goods”.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :