The post office is an important Government agent that facilitates financial inclusion, poverty alleviation, trade, communication and delivery of agency services, Dr. Jenfan Muswere, the Minister of Information Communication Technology (ICT), Postal and Courier Services has said.
He was giving a keynote address at the ZIMPOST Strategic Workshop held in Harare today.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Zimbabwe is mandated with the provision of Universal Postal Services, connecting citizens locally and also with the rest of the world. This mandate has to be pursued with vigour and determination in pursuit of the country’s vision. There is recognition that the post office in Zimbabwe, like elsewhere in the world, is an important Government agent that facilitates Financial Inclusion, poverty alleviation, trade, communication and delivery of Government agency services,” Minister Muswere said.
He said the trajectory towards an upper middle income economy is underpinned by a national priority area of creating a Digital Economy among others.
In that regard, Zimpost has to produce a strategic plan that will focus the company towards being a smart Post Office that provides services in line with the Smart Zimbabwe 2030 concept.
The ICT Ministry wants Zimpost to adopt the e-Post concept in totality and have it dominate its day to day delivery of products and services in Zimbabwe.
Dr. Muswere said the E-Post must be seen in e-Commerce which must drive Zimpost to become the “Amazon” of Zimbabwe.
“We want to see Zimpost providing seamless access to e-government services at post offices where the citizens will conveniently access services without necessarily having to travel to cities or towns. The lessons learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic are that Zimpost, like other companies, must ensure that its services are accessible 24/7 in order to meet social distancing and ease of transacting virtual protocols.
“At the Community Information Centres, Zimpost must ensure that the digital divide is narrowed through the marketing of the various e-enabled services in the post office’s locality. In that regard, Zimpost must develop a clear business plan that will ensure sustainable operation of Community Information Centres.”
Minister Muswere urged Zimpost to turn around its fortunes by sweating its assets especially immovable property and modernizing infrastructure amongst its major turnaround strategies. He also implored Zimpost to speed up the consolidation exercise so as to streamline its operations and cut down on duplication and related expenses.
“The implementation of Postal projects should alleviate poverty, promote entrepreneurship, and uplift people’s standard of living in the various communities across the country. The post office must be felt by citizens wherever it operates by contributing to the employment of youth, women, and people living with disabilities. The courier arm of Zimpost should address the transport challenges being faced by Zimbabwean farmers in bringing their produce to the market and even the delivery of inputs,” he added.
Dr. Gift Machengete, the Director-General of the Postal and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) said COVID – 19 has dealt a huge blow on the postal sector as incoming and outgoing flights were restricted while some borders were closed. This adversely affected transportation of mail items. Resultantly, this saw a huge slump in postal volumes from 1.3 million items in the first quarter of 2020 to a mere 232,000 items in the second quarter of 2020.
He, however, announced that the postal sector appears to be withering the effects of COVID – 19 and bouncing back to its feet as the third quarter saw a 28% increase in postal volumes to reach 298000 items. This growth trajectory is expected to persist in the fourth quarter of 2020.
“While COVID – 19 affected the business side of the posts, the posts proved to be a pillar in the country’s efforts to fight the pandemic. ZIMPOST was and remains an essential service provider, assisting the government in the distribution of drugs and other critical supplies around the country taking advantage of their vast and reliable postal network. I would like, therefore to commend ZIMPOST for a job well-done in this regard and ask you all to give them a round of applause.
“Moving on to the business of the day. Strategy ladies and gentlemen, is about scanning the horizon and knowing your environment. The strategy itself is a Military term referring to a coordinated plan involving knowing your enemy’s strengths and weaknesses as well as your own,” he added.