ED Posts

The Post is still relevant

Friday, 20th December 2013

The post remains vital in the socio-economic development of our country. An efficient and reliable communications network is the lifeline of the nation and society. Secondly, a modern postal system, as Posta Uganda is increasingly demonstrating, can help ease the provision of logistical solutions that integrate data and information, physical movement of mail and financial transactions.

And, much as development in ICT have reduced the demand for the brick-and-mortar business model, the physical movement and exchange of good is still a necessity for commerce and industry today. And this is one of the reasons why the postal sub-sector remains relevant.

Uganda's postal sub-sector comprises one major operator and 25 courier firms licensed as minor operators. The latter category includes bus and other transporters engaged in the conveyance and distribution of documents and parcels.

There are about 334 post offices and 79,417 private letter boxes all over the country. This translates into an estimated letter box penetration of one box for every 94 households.

Basically, the post provides letter post, parcel and express services. In a more advanced way, the post provides both postal and physical addresses for citizens and residents. In Uganda, for instance, it's difficult to trace one¡¯s physical location in Kampala or anywhere else.

This has implications for security, identification and invariably the development of innovative financial and commercial services and products. However, the lack of a national addressing and post code system is a major hindrance to the development of the sub-sector.

The good news is that we are addressing that obstacle now. In conjunction with the Ministry of ICT and Posta Uganda, UCC is developing a national postcode and addressing system aimed at reforming and modernising the delivery of postal services in the country.

This postcode system will not only facilitate faster and more efficient mail processing, but will also make it easy for postal and courier operators to deliver mail items to people's residential and office addresses. In addition, it will be central and critical to the development of a national ID and credit rating systems.

Internationally, Uganda is a member of the Geneva-based Universal Postal Union (UPU) as well as the Arusha-based Pan African Postal Union (PAPU) – just to mention two. We benefit a lot from such memberships through first hand access to information on projects, opportunities and resources from these bodies.

Last year, Uganda was elected to the Administrative Council of the Pan African Postal Union (PAPU) during the 31st Administrative Council of PAPU that took place in Addis in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from July 9-11, 2012.

Just on October 9, 2013, we commemorated this year's World Post Day (WPD) under the theme, "The Post: Delivering for People and Businesses Daily - a theme underscores the importance of the post services in the development of our country Uganda and the global society in general.

In conclusion, despite the unprecedented ICT revolution all over the world, the postal sub-sector remains relevant now and in the foreseeable future. However, the modest achievements that the sub-sector has registered should not blind us to the fact that a lot more remains to be done.