The Postal Corporation of Kenya, PCK says the global spread of the COVID 19 coronavirus pandemic has affected business operations and affected the liquidity of the state corporation.
In an internal memo to staff dated 15th April, PCK attributed the delay in paying March salaries to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is to inform you that there shall be a delay in the disbursement of salaries for March 2020,” read the memo in part. “The delay is as a result of the decrease in business which has been occasioned by the COVID – 19 pandemic.”
The explanation has however raised eyebrows from several quarters, with the corporation accused of using the pandemic as an excuse to hide deeper liquidity problems.
PCK Post Master General Dan Kagwe told the Standard that the cancellation of international flights has affected the corporation’s international business operations.
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“The coronavirus caught us unawares and when airports closed and passenger planes were grounded our international business was affected,” said Mr Kagwe in a telephone interview.
“PCK ferries letters and parcels on passenger flights as unaccompanied luggage and with the cancelling of international flights we were unable to complete orders,” he said.
Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, KNBS indicates that in 2018 PCK posted 18million letters and 28,000 parcels internationally.
PCK, which has more than 600 post offices in its nation-wide network, also recorded a good performance in the local market according to the latest data from the Communication Authority, CA.
“The number of letters sent between October and December 2019 increased by 9.7 per cent to stand at 10.5 million, from 9.6 million letters sent between July and September 2019,” states the regulator in its latest industry statistics.
“This increase is as a result of the national examinations during which consumers sent success cards to their loved ones. The increase is further attributed to the fact that most Kenyans prefer to enclose small gifts inside letters than posting as courier items since it is cheaper.”
Kagwe says PCK is looking at providing the government with logistical support in delivering essential supplies like government food aid during the crisis.
“We have been classified as essential service providers and there is a lot we can help the government or private sector to do in terms of providing our delivery services up to people’s homes,” he said.