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23.10.2008 General News

National Postal Policy Being Drafted

By Times Reporter -

A day's workshop to draft a National Postal and Courier Policy was held in Accra yesterday.

The workshop was to afford stakeholders the opportunity to make inputs into the proposed policy which among others would seek to address the needs of rural people in the country.

In an address read on his behalf Benjamin Aggrey Ntim, Minister of Communications, urged the participants to endeavour to make inputs into the policy to address the needs of the rural populace and also support them to communicate effectively.

Mr Ntim said government would welcome valuable inputs to help formulate an action plan that would lead to a more efficient and effective postal and courier service that will serve the needs of rural people.

He said government is to come up with an appropriate policy framework to guide and direct key players in the industry and facilitate the development of a strong and dynamic postal sector.

According to him, in spite of the constant changes in the global environment and resultant emergence of new products on the market the postal service still has a critical role to play in promoting social and economic development through the provision of a universal service as a guarantee to the right to communication.

“Postal and courier services facilitate trade, commerce and communications, both at home and abroad, and act as an important intermediary linking business and consumers.  It also supports the performance of essential services necessary for the functioning of modern market economies”, he added.

He asked the stakeholders to review their roles on the issue of financing and investment in the postal sub-sector, and to make recommendations for monitoring and evaluating the performance of the sub-sector.

The Minister pointed out that the workshop was taking place at a time when the country was positioning itself to become a middle – income country by the year 2015, hence “it behoves us to come out with a policy that is futuristic in thinking.”

The Minister urged the participants to deliberate on how the Postal and Courier Services Regulatory Commission to be set up would be adequately supported by the sector players to develop appropriate regulations to enhance competition.

In his remark as chairman of the function, Mr Raymond Cudjoe, a  lawyer and consultant in communication, said the internal industry has radically transformed many aspects of our lives and businesses but it has not killed the postal service.

He said an efficient postal system should ensure that rural folks are not left out in the e-commerce world, and therefore, the postal network is an unspoken ally which provides  infrastructure in facilitating the rural/urban digital divide.

According to him, a good postal policy, both national and regional, would assist in breaking down regional barriers in the ECOWAS sub-region.

He added that, the policy must not discriminate against physically challenged person, as the disabled are as much an important part of the economy and should be given equal opportunities to be both stakeholders and providers of postal services and consumers with rights.