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Business & Finance | May 1, 2004

Good Idea Ghana Post Company: These Must Be Implemented

SEIDU SANDU KPEBU

THE WORLD IS VARIOUSLY described as a global village, probably in terms of politics and economics. However when it comes to communications, it can be described as global hamlet where 'Azalu' (thanks Audrey) could stand at the town centre and relay his morning breaking news to the cottage folks. As distance between one communication point and another becomes reduced and close by the day, so must agents carrying the messages improve their services so as to move with the time.

It is in the light of the above that I commend Ghana Post's idea of improving and expanding the door to door delivery of letters or despatches. In the developed world this idea has been in use for decades now. The worker, who has no time to spare chasing his letters at the post box, only returns home to find his letter(s) posted through his pigeonhole. This arrangement enhances communication and response rate is much higher that leads to efficiency at work places.

The idea would help people to prove their addresses especially when dealing with the financial institutions, service providers, employers and the police service. In UK for instance you can't open a bank account without providing your address. The same goes for employment agencies who request for the proof of your address and identity. What they accept as proof are mostly utility bills (electricity or British telecom bills) bearing your full name and your house number, street name and postcode serving as your address.

The police service also uses this system to track down offenders and tracing their identity. They have centralised system whereby all addresses are coded on their computers and by keying in the address; the location map of that flat comes up on the computer. Ghana Post is therefore coming up with a very modern idea that would not only benefit the individual but society at large.

However, the Postal Company cannot be particularly successful if we don't have well-coded roads and house numbering. And if the company is bent on carrying on with this idea, it means employing more hands to do the delivery since our houses are haphazardly built with no particular plans with so many illegal and unauthorised structures. The only areas that the idea would be successful are newly developed areas with well-planned layout and house numberings.

The Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies must play a major role here. Their departments are responsible for ensuring modern layouts of our towns and cities. It is about time lands earmarked for parks; markets, schools, roads and public places of convenience are protected from developing into residential buildings under clandestine arrangements. There will be more on parks and shopping centres (Mall) later. If the authorities were responsible in the issuance of building permits, the Ghana Post will not find themselves in this imbroglio trying to expand a very laudable policy.

When the headache of the layout is solved, the company will still have to deal with a hydra-headed problem like the poor nature of our road network. Even if they have enough vans to do daily delivery countrywide, the rugged and muddy roads in the countryside would affect the efficiency of the service and delivery rate. The alternative would be for the company to team up with the private transport organisations in the delivery process. Letters could be sent to villages via the transport organisations thereby reducing the number of days that letters take to reach their destinations.

As things are now, it takes an average of three days for a letter to get to Accra from Cape Coast, which is incredible and defies understanding of the ordinary minds like mine. This is in sharp contrast with UK where it takes an average of one day for a letter to get to Manchester from London. And in most cases letters posted in the morning can get to its destination the same day. In giving them kudos, they should ensure that my letters get to me within days and not weeks even though they are express letters (Mr Editor sorry for my conflict of interest).

Additionally, the Post office counter is not only for posting letters, paying bills and buying of forms. The service encompasses that and includes providing services of driving licence, post office banking and pension payments. I am therefore singing hallelujah for the decision of the management to introduce post office banking and electronic mobile phone top-ups. This is practically modernising the company and sends the signal that the company is in tune with global events.

Most banks would be relieved of the pressure they have to contend on pay-days. The postal service apparently has more branches than the banks and paying workers at their branches is a panacea to reducing pressure on banks and the anxiety of workers who have to wait in queues for days. Man-hours are also lost through salary payments as workers leave offices to go and queue at the bank at the expense of the day's duties.

That is not to say a national award has been handed over to the company for their laudable and workable ideas. The award is firmly in my grips awaiting implementation of these ideas as I don't want to believe that what is contained in a speech put on the Internet is only a media gimmick and a public relations spin. These are workable policies and the company will receive the highest praise from me presented to them by the nation's gong gong beaters if these policies are implemented and do not end up on the executives' desks awaiting signatures for years on end.

In the era of communication being a driving force of businesses, it is good news that organisations involved in the information transmission have realised the major role they can play to help in our development efforts. The world has moved from mass society to information society and therefore a country without efficient and up to date communications systems is bound to fall behind others. The Asian countries have made communication and technology catalyst for development and have worked towards achieving that.

It gladdens my heart when organisations come up with working policies like that of Ghana Post. But it saddens me when these policies end up on the executives' desk without action taken. However, GP would be given the benefit of time. If I had time machine, I will pull time forward for hindsight of these ideas espoused by the company.

P/S: Do you know that Jennifer Lopez's (actress and musician) bums are insured for millions of pounds (£)? Do you know her wedding ring was pink and cost £600,000.00? And her last birthday gift from her ex-lover Ben Afleck was a Jaguar car costing £200,000.00, which was returned to Ben after their break-up

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