Financially crippled Malawi Posts Corporation (MPC) says, through its turnaround strategy, it aspires to be a leader in digitalisation and become an access point from which almost all services could be accessed.
However, to attain this vision in the next five years, the parastatal says it will need a commitment of about K41 billion. Of this, K10.04billion will be used to cover unserviced statutory obligations and creditors while K30 billion will be used for investments.
In an exclusive interview on Tuesday, MPC acting postmaster general Zacheaus Meke said the strategy is premised on trying to ensure that they have fully optimised the existence of postal its postal network in the country.
He said: “MPC has developed a turnaround strategy that seeks to provide a 360 degrees change for competitiveness. The investment will see MPC as a leader in digitalisation, becoming an access point from which almost all services could be accessed.
“Amidst the chaos that MPC has found itself in, we have come up with a vision which seeks to make MPC an access point in connectingcommunities in digitalservices. In doing so, we are seeing MPC playing a huge role in providing access to communities.”
Among others, the strategy aims to focus on enhancing courier services, e-commerce and financial services. The strategy is premised on cost reduction, postal network restructuring, automating business processes and growing revenue through introduction of post bank and digital finance services, which will largely depend on partnerships.
MPC runs a network of 180 post offices out of which 120 are making loss. This figure has grown to 140 currently.
TMeke said these post offices need running costs of about K600 000 each month, but can only generate between K1 000 and K5 000 monthly from the sale of postage stamps and agent fees earned from transacting on behalf of other service providers.
The parastatal also needs about K220 million in staff costs monthly but can only raise up to K160 million monthly, a situation which has worsened due to overstaffing by over 500 employees.
As part of its turnaround strategy, MPC has earmarked rightsising as a fundamental step, an exercise that could save the corporation over K1 billion annually.
Ironically, MPC was supposed to be given funding as a cost of Universal Service Obligation as stipulated in the Communication Act 41 of 1998.
However, in the past 21 years, MPC has only received K2.2 billion instead of K12 billion,. This means the parastatal was not funded for 16 years.
“We have accumulated bills in the ranges of K10 billion in 16 years that MPC hasn’t gotten any financial support. It would mean that from all trading activities, money has been used to finance the social element which has affected profitabilityand business sustainability,” said Meke.
Minister of Information Gospel Kazako is on record as having asked MPC to embrace new ways of doing things.
He said: “Our MPC has been left behind, because they didn’t pay attention to new trends in technology. MPC is a good example that we can’t continue living in the past.”
MPC was established as a Statutory Corporation in June 2000 under the Communications Act Number 41 of 1998.
Read full exclusive interview on page 8 of Business Review.