Digitising a dinosaur

February 22, 2021 9:14 am by Web Desk



The government has started a process to set up digital franchises of the national postal service which aims to open up new opportunities for the service apart from enabling much wider access for small-scale businesses, cottage industry and artisans of Pakistan through Pakistan Post’s massive outreach, maximising their market potential. On paper, this is a very welcome and win-win scenario for the beleaguered postal service which has seen its existence called into question in recent years on the back of heavy losses, increased competition and an inability to sustain itself. The incumbent government has since the very beginning worked on the postal department to reform it, repurpose its resources and bring its services on a par with those offered by private courier companies.

The new digital franchises, as announced by Federal Communications Minister Murad Saeed, will be equipped with modern technology, featuring a comprehensive digital platform to streamline the entire booking process while offering real-time tracking and delivery of articles. The initiative is expected to create around 0.3 million jobs apart from raising revenues significantly. Raising revenue is a key concern for Pakistan Post which had been incurring losses worth Rs60 billion annually before the arrival of the PTI government. While the federal minister conceded that his government had not been able to completely turn around the fortunes of the national courier service, he claimed that it had tackled the deficit problem and expressed the hope that this latest measure would reduce the gap further.

A look at the venture capital scene in Pakistan will show you that of the top 10 funded ventures, most are related to some form of courier or delivery service, confirming the demand for robust courier services in the country. Pakistan Post’s position in the market, its access to resources and overall reach is unparalleled. It just requires a concerted and guided push in the right direction to pull itself out of the red and become a market leader once again.

 

Published in The Express Tribune, February 22nd, 2021.

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