ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs Cabinet Secretary (CS), Joe Mucheru, has asked the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), to crack the whip on illegal courier operators, to rid the sector of fraudulent businesses.
Mucheru said that data from CA shows that the number of licensed courier operators hit 289 in June 2021 up from 263 in June 2019, while the number of private courier outlets grew from 788 in 2019/2020 to 901 in 2020/2021 Financial Year.
In a speech read on his behalf by the ICT and Broadcasting Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS), Maureen Mbaka, Friday, at a Nairobi hotel, during the World Post Day, Mucheru called on the CA to enhance its surveillance on the unlicensed operators, whom he noted have taken advantage of the rise in online shopping, since the outbreak of Covid-19.
“I am calling upon CA to enhance its enforcement activities across the country and ensure that those firms operating without licenses are weeded out of the market. These ventures are not only undercutting licensed operators and denying the government revenue from license fees and taxes, but also pose a risk to consumers, who have no redress when their items are lost by these firms,” Mucheru said.
The CS added that as a country, Kenya has come of age in the digital world and digitization has truly become the great equaliser.
“The creative sector has been growing in tandem and has continued to contribute significantly to job creation. We like saying that ‘talent yako ni kazi’. Over 23,000 artists and creatives, are currently using Skiza and Viusasa, earning more than Sh2.4 billion annually. This would not have been possible for pre-digitisation,” Mucheru said.
He said Kenya’s internet penetration, is among the highest in Africa at about 85 percent. This has spurred more than 1.2 million youth, to work online and earn decent wages in the gig economy with the government expecting to push this figure to over 15 million by 2030.
CA Director General, Ezra Chiloba, in a speech read on his behalf by the Universal Service Fund (USF) Director, Christopher Kemei, said the Authority is keenly monitoring the development trends in the sector, in order to provide regulatory interventions to overcome challenges hampering efficient service delivery.
“To ensure that postal consumers receive quality service, the Authority continues to carry out monitoring of the performance of licensees, to ensure the quality of service is offered to the consumers. Postal operators are, therefore, urged to submit compliance returns as required every quarter, as this forms the basis of reliable data, that enables effective planning for the sector,” Chiloba said.
He also noted that the Authority is currently carrying out a market study in the postal courier subsector, in order to establish the service access gaps, to inform remedies and initiatives towards boosting service access for consumers.
The findings, he says, will enable the Authority to take some interventions and address some of the noted challenges experienced by players and consumers of postal courier services.
Postal Corporation of Kenya (PCK), Postmaster General, Dan Kagwe, said the new frontier for the postal services sector, is e-commerce and logistics, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic era, where customers are keen to trade with minimal physical contact.
“We are making efforts to respond to the fast-changing consumer needs in adaptation of new technologies, to enable the development of suitable last-mile delivery networks. We have recently partnered with Swift Lab Limited, to roll out drone based last mile delivery services countrywide, for medical supplies, e-commerce purchases and essential cargo,” Kagwe said.
The Postmaster General said PCK, was investing in the production of drones manufactured in Kenya, as it seeks to claw back its market position as the courier and logistics services provider of choice.
Under the three-year agreement, Swift Lab Limited, a Kenyan cargo drone Company, he says, will manufacture and operate drones that can travel up to 70km and carry a payload of up to 4kg.
In the recent past, PCK has also partnered with government agencies such as National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA), Kenya Medical and Supplies Authority (KEMSA) and the Directorate of Immigration Services, as it rapidly innovates to recover from the effects of Covid-19 pandemic on its operations.
By Joseph Ng’ang’a