24.06.2006 Technology

ICT A Challenge For Enhanced Postal Business

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Mr Kofi Dua-Adonteng, Managing Director of the Ghana Post (GP), last Thursday said the radical and rapid changes in the communications industry had offered it greater opportunity to enhance its business using Information Communications Technology (ICT) as its tool.

He said GP was determined to adopt ICT full-scale into their business in spite of varying difficulties including financial constraints.

Mr Duah-Adonteng in a welcoming address at the 25th Ordinary Session of the Pan African Postal Union (PAPU) Administrative Council last Thursday said the GP had begun a process of service and product diversification using ICT, even though, it was still struggling to implement its Counter Computerisation Programme."Our Instant Money Transfer (IMT) and Domestic Money Transfer Service, which was introduced a year ago and which is running side by side with our traditional postal and money order services, has become so popular in the remittance market," he said.

The three-day conference, which brought together about 300 delegates from African countries including Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cote díIvoire, Togo and The Gambia, would discuss ideas and experiences with the Postal Administration as well as other international stakeholders regarding developments in the postal industry.

Mr Dua-Adonteng said the post, particularly that in Africa, was facing very daunting challenges as a result of radical and rapid changes taking place in the communications industry. He, therefore, called on the Pan-African Postal Union (PAPU) and the Universal Postal Union (UPU) to consider the facilitation and sourcing of favourable external funding and private investments for the postal sector as critical to ensuring competitiveness and to make it commercially viable.

"It is believed that with very favourable financial arrangements coming the way of the Continent's Postal Administrations, they are sure to make it in the face of current market competition, technology explosion as well as developments in the global economic environment, that have brought the postal sector under intense pressure to battle for survival."

He said with the privatisation of courier services in Ghana, coupled with the advent of Information Communication Technology (ICT) the customer now had the option to go modern in his or her choice or the type of service, which also guaranteed speed, security, reliability, affordability and even style.

Mr Dua-Adonteng said lack of financial capital was a handicap of the Postal Administration in Africa and would need much support to make it IT-driven and competitive.

Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah, Minister for the Interior, who stood in for Professor Mike Ocquaye, Minister for Communications, called for the reintroduction of investments to facilitate postal savings to support rural credit co-operatives to have access to financial services. He urged the Conference to consider the need to design and to develop networks among African states to form the platform for the modernisation of the postal network and improvement of postal operations capabilities.

Mr Kan-Dapaah cautioned delegates to be mindful of Africa's peculiar circumstances when considering the development of the Postal Development Plan for Africa (PDPA) for 2006-2008, so as to enable the UPU to support and assist Africa in implementing appropriate measures to ensure lasting development of the African Postal Sector.

He said the Ministry of Communications was currently identifying a range of ICT enhanced services that could be offered in the short to medium term for Ghana Post to take advantage of the telecommunications infrastructure available.

Mr Kan-Dapaah said the Government was committed to supporting GP to develop ICT enabled Post Offices, particularly in the rural areas, and to allow it greater flexibility to operate its business enterprises and to render good services to the people.

Mr Isaac Adu-Boahen, Chairman, Postal and Courier Services Regulatory Commission (PCSRC), said the Commission would continue to provide the enabling environment and a level playing field for all stakeholders to operate within the confines of the Commissionís Act 2003, to promote and encourage the expansion of postal services for the social and economic development of customers.

Mr Adu-Boahen called for maximum support from all stakeholders to enable the Commission to perform effectively to ensure the promotion of universal services.

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