The Postal Corporation of Kenya has ventured into the lucrative clearing and forwarding business as it seeks to turnaround its fortunes.
The era of digital economy that sees use of more emails for communication than physical letters and private transport business that also saw a gap in faster delivery meant that Posta would struggle to compete.
But with its diverse and robust infrastructure to the remotest areas of the country and vehicles to transport goods, the parastatal has ventured into a natural area it should have long ago.
As reported by Business Daily, the Posta has already secured deals from National Oil Corporation of Kenya, Central Bank of Kenya and individuals. So far, they related to car importation.
Postmaster-General Dan Kagwe said the diversification would also help Posta to sustain its workforce. He said that clearing and forwarding is not a cost to implement, it is just manpower that we need and we have the manpower. “We have 3,000 employees and instead of thinking of redundancy or retrenchments we want to create work for our staff,” he added at the flagging off of a fleet of new motor vehicles for mail and courier services in Nairobi.
Last month, the company effected an exemption from value-added tax (VAT) that effectively makes it cheaper to rent postal boxes. Under the revised price regime, an individual post office box now costs sh2,027 every year compared to the previous sh2,320.
The move, aimed at wooing customers to the struggling firm’s services, was part of a proposal in the Finance Bill 2018/19 to exclude postal and subsidiary services the PCK currently offers from the levy.
Posta is also said to be investing in an e-commerce a platform through which customers order goods from different retailers and have them delivered to their doorstep. The firm plans to cash in on the convenience of delivery of household necessities for relatives in rural areas.
In 2015, Posta partnered with Jumia to allow its customers to pick up items they purchase on the website from Post offices across the country. Customers have the option to pick-up products from a Post office closest to them during the checkout process, the product(s) will be dispatched to the selected office and customers can pay for the items via cash through Postapay or Mpesa during pick up.