Mthabisi Tshuma in Harare
ZIMBABWE’s postal services provider, Zimpost, should drive its energy towards adopting electronic e-Post models to grow its business and complement Government’s “ease of doing business” reform agenda.
Information Communication Technology (ICT), Postal and Courier Services Minister, Dr Jenfan Muswere, said this at the Zimpost strategic planning workshop held at Zimpost Headquarters in Harare on Wednesday.
Adopting the e-commerce strategy, he said, was the only route to ensure Zimpost remains relevant as businesses the world over make a sudden shift to digital options.
The digital drive has been compounded by the impact of Covid-19, which has brought in a new normal.
In a Covid-19 conscious world, the traditional forms of sending and receiving goods are regarded a risk due to increased contact.
In his keynote address Dr Muswere said the Government was seized with facilitating Zimpost’s change over to new business models that ride on innovation.
“The trajectory towards an upper middle-income economy is underpinned by a national priority area of creating a ‘Digital Economy’ among others,” he said.“Zimpost has to produce a strategic plan that will focus the company towards being a ‘smart post office’ that provides services in line with the Smart Zimbabwe 2030 concept.
“My ministry wants Zimpost to adopt the e-Post concept in totality and have it dominate its day to day delivery of products and services in Zimbabwe. The e-Post must be seen in e-Commerce, which must drive Zimpost to become the ‘Amazon’ of Zimbabwe.”
The minister said the adoption of the e-Post concept will see Zimpost playing a part to ensure the decentralisation of provision of services. He stressed that in a digital world, the post office should have a role in economic recovery as espoused in the new economic blueprint: the National Development Strategy1 (NDS1 2021-2025).
“We want to see Zimpost providing seamless access to e-Government services at post offices where the citizens will conveniently access services without necessarily having to travel to cities or towns,” said Dr Muswere.
“The lessons learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic are that Zimpost, like other companies, must ensure that its services are accessible 24/7 in order to meet social distancing and ease of transacting virtual protocols.”
He said provision of universal postal services, connecting citizens locally and with the rest of the world was a must and called on Zimpost to play ball. This mandate has to be pursued with vigour and determination in pursuit of the country’s vision, said the minister.
There is recognition that the post office in Zimbabwe, like elsewhere in the world, is an important agent that facilitates financial inclusion, poverty alleviation, trade, communication and delivery of Government agency services.
As such, the minister said Zimpost should bridge the digital divide at Community Information Centres through marketing of the various e-enabled services in the post office’s locality.
“The implementation of postal projects should alleviate poverty, promote entrepreneurship and uplift people’s standard of living in the various communities across the country.
“The post office must be felt by citizens wherever it operates by contributing towards employment of youth, women and people living with disabilities,” he said. – @mthabisi_mthire