In an age where its sources of income are being choked by private couriers and instant messaging applications render letter-writing obsolete, the postal service is at risk of becoming nothing but a distant memory, local officials have warned.
Newly appointed Postmaster General Margaret Ashby Friday contended that the postal service was at the crossroads and in need of reform.
In an address at the opening of the 3rd Council of Ministers of Postal Affairs Conference, Ashby reminisced on the days when post offices held a monopoly over the delivery of mail and packages.
However, she said times have changed and private courier services now dominate the lucrative package delivery market.
“The postal service is now trying to survive in a market where most of the lucrative areas have been taken over by private couriers. However, while the most lucrative areas of the postal service have been taken over by the private sector, the postal service is still responsible for supplying the universal service obligations to the countries. In the past, the post would have earned those valuable resources in order to supply the postal services within the region. Today, that is no longer possible. Under these circumstances there must be a call for reform,” Ashby told those gathered at the Accra Beach Hotel and Spa in Rockley, Christ Church for the conference.
The call for reform was also sounded by Minister of Home Affairs Adriel Brathwaite, who focused on the impact the Internet was having of the postal service.
Brathwaite, who delivered the feature address at this morning’s event, spoke of the diminishing number of people who sent letters through the mail, and made a strong appeal for post offices to be flexible and innovative in order to survive in a changing world.
In addressing the loss of business to private couriers, the minister recommended that regional postal administrators meet with regional carrier, LIAT, and Customs heads to discuss ways to accelerate the delivery of packages.