The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) has started reviewing the national postal policy to replace the outdated framework put in place 17 years ago. Potraz director of postal and courier services Engineer Kennedy Dewera said the regulator had advised its parent ministry that the current policy was now out of sync with reality on the ground.
“The current policy was put in place in 2001 and it is the Authority’s view that it has served its purpose,” Engineer Dewera said.
The authority, working closely with its parent ministry, commenced the process of facilitating the review of the national postal sector policy. This process is expected to be complete before the second quarter of this year (2018),” he said.
The new postal sector policy will pave way for review of the postal and courier services licensing framework, which is the domain of Potraz. Eng. Dewera said Potraz had realised that a lot of factors have changed over the past 17 years and that there is need to revisit the licensing framework in order to bring all the illegal operators into the fold.
Review of the licensing framework will be guided by the review process of the National Postal Sector policy. Currently, there are three licence categories for the Postal and Courier Services sector. These include the postal services general license, international commercial courier License and the domestic commercial courier license.
The postal services general licence was granted to one of the Postal and Telecommunications Corporation (PTC) successor companies, Zimpost, which company has the sole obligation of fulfilling all the obligations arising from the Universal Postal Union (UPU) to which Zimbabwe is a signatory.
Some of Zimpost’s obligations include provision of universal postal services to all parts of Zimbabwe, deemed to be commercially unviable by private couriers. Provision of universal postal services is one of Potraz’s key mandates, among many others.
As regards International commercial courier services licence category, operators are licensed to provide international commercial courier services as well as domestic courier services.
This license category allows licensed operators to export and import time sensitive goods to and from Zimbabwe. Holders of this licence can also provide domestic commercial courier services to the citizens of Zimbabwe. The domestic commercial courier licence allows holders of such a licence document to only operate within the boundaries of the borders of Zimbabwe.
Potraz is also in the process of acquiring an automated quality of service monitoring system that will be used to monitor compliance with both domestic and international quality of service standards. The five quality monitors will be deployed at 35 Zimpost outlets and are already in the process of being procured.
The system will complement two international gates already equipped with a similar system, courtesy of the initiatives by Zimpost. Potraz has also embarked on a project to establish a model post.
The objective is to put in place a new revitalised postal network. The major thrust of the envisaged model is to ensure provision of e-government services through the use of the country’s wide postal infrastructure that the government invested in over the years.
In addition, Potraz wants to spearhead a programme that will see the Government owned postal company operating profitably. This will result in the public postal company moving away from subsidies that come through the use of the Universal Services Fund.
In this regard the Authority is working closely with Zimpost and the Office of the President and Cabinet, particularly the department that is responsible for modernisation of State enterprises. The other thrust is to ensure that the postal network rides on information communication technologies in dispensing services to the public.-Herald