Postal sector must re-invent itself

SHARE   |   Monday, 10 August 2015   |   By Othusitse Tlhobogang
Tamasiga Tamasiga

With the ever changing technological advancements almost rendering traditional postal services irrelevant Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority Deputy Chief Executive Officer Mphoeng Tamasiga feels there is a serious need for postal business models to be modified.  Tamasiga said the change is inevitable as it will help the postal sector to remain relevant in the modern environment.
Tamasiga said at the officially opening of the 14th Southern African Postal Operators Association (SAPOA) annual general meeting on Wednesday. He said if the postal sector does not re-invent itself and automate its processes and systems to adopt ICT based programmes and strategies it is alarming to imagine what will become of the sector.

To date the postal sector has many competitors as opposed to in the past. Tamasiga therefore encouraged the sector to understudy their competitors such as DHL, FedEx, Sprint couriers and others especially when it comes to efficiency and commercial mind-set. “We need to seriously modify our postal business models and ensure collaborations block by block until we attain integration of the whole world,” said Tamasiga.

However, he acknowledged the challenges that the postal sector continues to face. Some of these challenges include the national postal sector policies which are either non-existent or out of touch with the current reality. “Universal service obligations are weighing heavily on the sector which is already struggling with competition from other means of modern communication,” he said.
Tamasiga nonetheless said they are doing all they can to smoothen the sector’s working environment buy promoting collaborations through the ICT Inter-Ministerial and inter-government frameworks. “As   regulators we are committed to your course and I surely hope that from this forum you will deduce some material facts and recommendations that will enlighten our decision making processes as operators”.

SADC representative Cecilia Mamelodi-Onyadile commended SAPOA for taking a lead in some of the initiatives that they have embarked on to ensure that the SADC post office reinvents itself. “We at SADC recognise that the postal sector touches human life in various ways and contributes significantly towards the development of SADC economy,” said Mamelodi-Onyadile just like Tamasiga assured SAPOA that SADC will remain committed to working with them in this regard as their secretariat.

She also encouraged the sector to engage in ICT as it has brought about more efficient and cost saving substitutions of the traditional postal services and products. Mamelodi-Onyadile is of a view that the SADC Postal Strategy (2014-2016) which its implementation is underway would further help the sector. She pointed out the strategy will lead to studies on the postal financial inclusion which may be crucial to the sector.

The annual general meeting brought together SADC member countries to address the challenges facing the postal sectors in the region and come up with ways of tackling them.