MESSAGE FROM THE MANAGING DIRECTOR ON WORLD POST DAY CELEBRATIONSOctober 15, 2020 4:27 pm
THE COVID-19 CRISIS AND THE POSTAL SECTOR
On 9th October, Posta Uganda will join the rest of the world to mark the World Post Day 2020. The purpose of World Post Day is to bring awareness to the Post’s role in the everyday lives of people and businesses, as well as its contribution to global social and economic development.
I therefore call upon everyone to take time off to appreciate this day and recognize the unique value that the Post plays in the livelihood of millions of Ugandans, and billions around the world.
The spread of the novel coronavirus, and of COVID-19, the disease caused by it, has been unprecedented. According to the Universal Postal Union (UPU) reports on COVID-19, from the first reported cases in December 2019 to the beginning of spring 2020 in the northern hemisphere, it became a global pandemic. By 12 May 2020, the virus had already infected over 4 million people and resulted in more than 280,000 deaths worldwide, as governments in every continent imposed lockdowns and restrictions of movement.
The postal sector is no exception in this regard. Although its relevance as a public service may have been strengthened by this turn of events, the whole sector will have to engage in considerable efforts in order to recover both during and after the COVID-19 crisis. To that end, it is essential to understand the economic forces at work and their repercussions on the activities of postal operators.
As domestic postal markets appear to move in different directions, international flows have been disrupted by the closure of airports, even if goods are still free to transit to most destinations. Emergency messages issued by postal operators have thus mounted up considerably, with an increasing number of postal items “stranded” in the “logistical no man’s land” between sender and receiver. Cross-border exchanges have thus dropped. Delivery and customs clearance times have lengthened and some international postal bilateral liaisons are not open for private dispatches.
These new developments have come at a time at which the postal sector was already facing unprecedented change, owing to decades-long macro-trends such as digitalization, liberalization, and changing citizen needs. As governments, regulators, operators and other wider postal sector players attempt to grapple with the effects of the crisis, not all countries are equally prepared to face the challenge. Indeed, disparities in postal development that have been accumulating over the years, both between and within regions, will make it difficult for the least resilient national postal services to overcome the obstacles ahead. Yet, as the crisis once again highlights the criticality of postal services for the basic functioning of national economies, supporting the sector should become a central element of any policy developed by governments in order to combat the major socio-economic upheaval caused by COVID-19.
Posta Uganda’s response to COVID – 19
As other agencies and businesses were closed due to the lockdown, we all need to recognize the incredible sacrifices made by the postal staff during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Deemed essential staff as the pandemic raged furiously across the world, Posta Uganda workers labored hard to deliver customers’ mails to homes or places of their convenience through our service known as home delivery. Thanks to the post, the old, isolated and infirm were assisted; life-saving medicines delivered; protective equipment provided; and essential financial services maintained.
Innovation and creativity were the hallmarks of this new period and the drivers of fresh ways of providing social and financial services to customers. Posta Uganda introduced Eposta as an enabler to revamp and modernize the postal services. Eposta is an electronic Posta Management Platform for the automation of the Post Office to enable offering all postal services online. As citizens get accustomed to shopping online, Posta Uganda is taking advantage of ecommerce and delivering of customers’ packages.
Embracing change is a must for successful repositioning of a postal agency. Posta Uganda Ltd launched its Strategic Plan for the period 2020 to 2023. The Strategy, once it’s implemented, shall make Posta Uganda one of the key public institutions in the achievement of Uganda’s Vision 2040.
Through its predecessor, Uganda Posts & Telecommunications Corporation and since its incorporation as a national postal institution, the Company has touched the lives of many Ugandans for decades. It has always been associated with its legacy products of Mail Delivery and Post Office Box rental services. These services shall continue to be part of the product portfolio of Posta Uganda but under a modernized, revamped and redeveloped postal network. Significantly, E-commerce and financial inclusion shall feature among the prioritized services that Posta Uganda shall be associated with over the next three years.
With the onset of mobile telephone, internet and related web-based technology, the consumer is demanding for continuous improvement, speed, reliability and world-class customer service. In recognition of these developments in the market, Posta Uganda shall be boosting its ICT capabilities and leveraging its postal branch network across the country and its global partnerships, to stamp its presence in mail delivery, courier services and financial services. The pillars of Posta Uganda’s new strategy are:
- Digitalized and modernized operations through a robust and reliable IT;
- Dynamic, productive and customer-centric human resource; and
- Healthy liquidity to finance capital projects and meet operational budgets.
The three-year Strategy is a pragmatic blue print for ‘business unusual’ at Posta Uganda. Apart from reviewing the macro and micro-economic environments, it draws upon the experiences and lessons of postal agencies in Africa. I am therefore convinced that the Institution has the right instrument to guide its repositioning agenda and achieve notable growth over the next three years.
In conclusion, as the World celebrates this day, I wish to point out that the future of the Postal industry lies in its ability to rigorously reinvent itself by taking advantage of the benefits of ICT in order to remain relevant and competitive.
I WISH YOU ALL HAPPY CELEBRATIONS