Pakistan Post facing severe financial strains

Loss of Rs5.50b a year and increasing; not a single govt office avails services of postal service


Riazul Haq November 29, 2017
PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Post is facing a financial loss of Rs5.50 billion yearly due to lower-than-expected budgetary allocation and fading clientele on account of slow delivery of mails as compared to other fast-paced private mailing companies.

The national postal service requested the Ministry of Finance to allocate Rs20 billion in the budget for fiscal year 2016-17, but only Rs16 billion was sanctioned. With Rs10 billion being generated from revenue receipts and expenditure totalling Rs20.50 billion, a loss of Rs5.50 billion was bound to occur.

This sorry state of affairs was revealed on Tuesday during a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Postal Services with Syed Iftikharul Hassan in the chair.

NA panel pushes for reforms in Pakistan Post

Federal Minister for Postal Services Maulana Ameer Zaman, secretary and director general requested members of the standing committee to assist them in saving the once-honoured institution and its properties.

“None of the government organisations utilise our mailing services,” said Additional Secretary In-charge of Postal and Services Division Muhammad Saqib Aziz.

He said Pakistan Post has 11,496 offices across the country and about 85% of them are in rural areas where not even a single private courier service is present.

It has 47,347 employees in the country, of which, 31,635 are regular and 15,712 are working part-time with daily business transaction of about Rs4.6 billion, he added.

The postal service is facing the worst-ever problem of financial crisis and lack of staff at headquarters set up across the country, particularly in Islamabad, as the staff has to work round the clock.

According to the presentation, the financial position of the postal service started to deteriorate in FY 2009-10 with a loss of Rs145 million. However, in 2016-17, the losses escalated to a massive Rs5.50 billion.

Lawmaker Rana Muhammad Ishaq Khan inquired how come the losses were on the rise when daily business transaction was touching Rs5 billion.

The secretary replied that it was because about 80% of the budget was being spent on salaries and pensions of the employees while with the remaining 20% “we cannot overhaul everything”.

Citing the fact that the public did not trust the services of Pakistan Post and that the private sector was doing well with much less employees, he suggested, “Improve, innovate and perform.”

The secretary replied they were doing their best as a simple mail delivery costs Rs8 as against Rs250 charged by private companies for the same service, adding that the prices of stamps had not been increased since 2009.

The minister also chipped in stating that they were facing shortage of staff as there was no permanent director general, no joint secretary and no deputy secretary but still they were trying to implement the prime minister’s reforms agenda for the ministry.

“However, it is the money which will settle the matter,” he said.

Pakistan Post’s 625 properties occupied

The minister asked the standing committee members to suggest the government bodies to utilise the services of the Pakistan Post.

At the end, the committee sought complete details of PM reforms programme, lands across the country and suggestions to uplift the ailing postal service.

Brief history

The Ministry of Postal Services was re-established as an independent ministry in August this year when it was separated from the Ministry of Communications.

Being the successor of Royal Indian Post Office established in 1898, it is the oldest post office, which currently deals with posts, saving bank and postal life insurance, including pensions for retired military personnel, and collection of utility bills and motor vehicle tax.

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