LAGGING BEHIND

Postal Corporation told to think outside the box

Government should not have to continue to subsidise the postal system at current rates

In Summary

•The sector has seen a dramatic decrease in letters notable in the Communications Authority data which shows the number of letters posted locally in a year fell to 47.1 million as at June 30

•Although Posta has made some significant strides in introducing digital avenues it has yet to establish the impact these tools have had on consumers

Posta House in Nairobi's CBD
Posta House in Nairobi's CBD
Image: FILE

The Postal Corporation of Kenya  has been challenged to invest in  digital innovations to catch up with an already flourishing digital economy.

Representing ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru at the World Post Day celebrations, Juliana Yampan ICT ministry administration secretary said the postal sector has been eclipsed by continued digitisation.

"The sector is highly dependent on traditional postal mail. There is a need to fully adapt to ever-evolving customer needs," she said.

 

The sector has seen a dramatic decrease in letters and the Communications Authority data shows the number of letters posted locally in a year fell to 47.1 million as at June 30 down from 115.58 million letters a decade ago as a result of increased use of Internet-based mailing systems.

Leapfrog Business Consulting's Frank Cianciullo, said Posta should be rebranding, streamline its operations and looking at e-commerce growth in parcel volume.

"Posta Kenya has over the years continued to focus on postal and quasi postal services when in fact it should be looking "outside the box”," he said.

He said with the inovation, the government should not continue subsidising the postal services.

Although Posta has made some significant strides in introducing digital avenues it has yet to establish the impact these digital tools have had on consumers when compared to private sector counterparts.

In hopes to reduce the high number of idle boxes that stood at 70,000 as at September 2017, PCK partnered with Simpay Limited to sell private letter boxes- physical and virtual- and digitise postal services through its digital platform e-Njiwa.

 

Posta has also launched several other digital avenues including M-Post, Tunza Nyumba na Posta, EMS2Go, Postal Digital Parcel Locker aimed at netting more income.

Ciancullio said while there has been an increase in incoming parcels from e-commerce, especially via the global market, this may not necessarily be a win for Kenya's economy.

"This means that citizens are buying from abroad and more money is leaving the country, depleting the economy even further," he said.

Ciancullio said Posta should lean more towards establishing financial, government and business service offerings while focusing on customers and long-term sustainability.

This may, however, pose a great challenge for the state body as not even banks or service providers such as Kenya Power or water firms which previously relied on the postal system to send out statements and bill customers currently do so.

The corporation is also banking on its new clearing and forwarding division and e-commerce services, amid a plan to partner with global tech giants Alibaba and Amazon, to sustain its workforce and boost the struggling firm's earnings.