Minister of Technology and Science Felix Mutati has announced the Government’s plan to review the Postal Services Act to ensure that emerging issues in the postal and courier services sector are incorporated.
Mr. Mutati said the Minister of Technology and Science will soon commence the review of the postal services act to ensure that rising issues in the postal and courier services sector are integrated.
Speaking on the occasion of the signing of Postal Services (General) Regulations, 2023 Statutory Instrument in Lusaka, Mr. Mutati said the New Dawn government is making policy decisions to enhance the growth of the postal services sector.
“From the outset, I wish to point out that the government is committed to the development and growth of the postal services sector. With this growth, the government has a duty to create an enabling environment for it to thrive and create the much needed jobs for our people. In the context of postal services, we have noted the emergence of courier services. These form part of the larger postal services that the government has committed to support ensuring that more jobs are created for our people. The postal services act no. 22 of 2009 (psa) provides for the regulation of postal and courier services in Zambia. To regulate this sector, the ministry has mandated Zambia information and communications technologies (ZICTA to create a competitive postal environment leading to the development of the sector. To this end, ZICTA seeks to support the emergence and growth of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMES) in Zambia by lowering barriers to entry into the postal and courier sector,” Mr. Mutati said.
“The courier services market segment has witnessed an influx of a number of MSMES participating especially in the distribution of parcels within the districts. While this development is expected to support e-commerce, a number of MSMES providing these services are not licensed by the authority. This presents challenges related to monitoring quality of service, security risks on items being delivered as well as a loss of revenue to the treasury among others. However, some MSMES may not be able to take up opportunities in the provision of courier services due to the prevailing license fees regime which has largely been viewed as prohibitive. In order to reduce the cost of doing business among MSMES as well as enhance regulatory compliance to licensing with the ZICTA, a proposal for the reduction of license fees for operating postal or courier services locally and domestically was made to the ministry of finance,” he said.
Mr. Mutati further announced a reduction in license fees for operating postal or courier services locally.
“Following this consultation, I am happy to announce that local license fees charged by the ZICTA shall reduce from ZMW 10,000 to zmw 5,000 whereas the international license fees shall reduce from zmw 15,000 to zmw 10,000. These respectively represented significant reductions of 50 and 53 percent. The reduction of fees is expected to increase participation of SMEs in the sector and thereby increase competition and reduce unemployment in the county. The fee reduction is also expected to increase the government’s revenues in the long run through increased participation in the postal and courier sector. The benefits of the government intervention in the postal and courier services through the regulations are:formalisation of the postal and courier market will provide space to expand services not only local but international market. The Zambian postal and courier businesses will become global,” Mr. Mutati said.
He said the registered postal and courier businesses shall be regulated to build trust and confidence.
“From the customer perspective, the registered postal and courier businesses shall be regulated which shall build trust and confidence as high quality of services and customer experience will be enhanced. This is part of unlocking rigidity as one of the barriers identified was entry fees which has been reduced by over 50%.The regulation shall also increase employment as we estimate about 150 informal postal and courier businesses that shall be formalized. Taking advantage of the digital transformation agenda through electronic government services in which the government shall continue to provide last mile delivery services for small parcels from the government such as driving licenses, social welfare benefits parcels. The courier sector has experienced rapid growth in participation during the era of the covid-19 pandemic. The most significant part of this growth has been in the domestic category whose activity has increased with the number of operators. The use of smaller vehicles and motorcycles In intra-city deliveries has become popular and hence the reduction of customs duty on electric vehicles from 30 to 15 percent and on electric motorcycles from 25 to 15 percent is timely.”
“Use of electric motor vehicles and motorcycles for the postal and courier sector is very common in more advanced economies due to their fuel cost-efficiency and their lower carbon emissions. Hence, this reduction provides an opportunity for the country’s postal and courier sector to leapfrog fellow developing countries’ progress in the use of green delivery vehicles. The designated operator, Zampost, utilizes bicycles to provide postal services in remote rural parts of the country. Therefore, the reduction of customs duty on bicycles from 25 to 15 percent translates into a cost reduction for Zampost’s acquisition of bicycles for their deliveries where applicable. As I conclude, let me take this opportunity to inform the nation that my ministry will soon commence the review of the postal services act to ensure that emerging issues in the postal and courier services sector are incorporated,” Mr. Mutati said.