What you need to know:
- The corporation has been facing a rough time recently especially since the Covid-19 pandemic struck, exposing its vulnerable underbelly, when it failed to pay workers for six months.
- The Treasury had to step in and settle the Sh810 million the firm owed workers.
''Posta ain’t going nowhere.''
This is according to the state corporation’s management and the ministry of Information Communication and Technology (ICT), even as they admit that the firm’s deep financial wounds won’t heal without a government bailout.
Postal Corporation of Kenya (PCK) Postmaster-General Dan Kagwe cited the Universal Service Obligation (USO) the corporation is mandated to carry through the UN charter, saying that in the end, the government will either finance its loss-making outlets or implement restructuring proposals to turn around their operations.
“The government needs to approve joint ventures and Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) which will allow us to turn to profit making most of the postal offices and idle properties that we have. Through joint ventures, we will increase returns on investment as opposed to now,” Mr Kagwe said.
Mr Kagwe said the corporation was planning to partner with individuals and local companies to run postal offices through a franchise system, where it would license them to be the operators.
He admitted that the corporation’s revenues have been poor despite it having an asset base valued at more than Sh14 billion all over the country, pointing that the way out is having all its assets being used commercially.
“This will also help us tap into the local e-commerce, where we will be able to move things from one point to the other in the country. At the end of the day, something has to be moved from one point to another and the question that comes now is speed and efficiency,” Mr Kagwe said.
He was speaking during an event to commemorate the World Post Day, marked on October 9 every year, where he insisted that “Posta ain’t going nowhere.”
He said a plan submitted by the corporation to the government through a Cabinet memo would see it fully automate its services, eventually uprooting the pilferage culture among employees.
The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) director of licensing and compliance, Mr Matano Ndaro, also pointed out that transferring Huduma Centre services to PCK was a consideration, as one of the ways to improve the corporation’s revenues and service delivery.
CA’s acting Director-General Mercy Wanjau added that the ministry was pushing the government to restore the role of administering the cash transfer programme for the elderly, orphans and vulnerable children to the corporation, saying its vast outlets across the country would enhance provision of the services.
The government took away the role from Posta four years ago, giving it to commercial banks, after inefficiencies that had huge delays in transfer of cash to the vulnerable groups.
“Posta ain’t going nowhere, they are here to stay,” Ms Wanjau said, adding that an information system the company was in the process of procuring would enhance its migration to a digital environment.
But to implement all the ambitious plans the corporation has, it will need the state’s intervention to help it clear Sh5.9 billion debts, finance its restructuring and also finance a redundancy programme to have it lay off a majority of its workforce.
“The postal, courier and logistics sector across the world mainly has people between 25 and 30 years working. 60 per cent of our staff are over 50 years,” Mr Kagwe said.
The corporation has been facing a rough time recently especially since the Covid-19 pandemic struck, exposing its vulnerable underbelly, when it failed to pay workers for six months. The Treasury had to step in and settle the Sh810 million the firm owed workers.
Members of Parliament have also been pessimistic about the PCK’s strategy to come back from losses, and projecting that it will eventually die.