Unlicensed courier operators to be shut in CA crackdown

CA Director General Ezra Chiloba. [Boniface Okendo,Standard]

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) will closed down courier firms operating in the country without a licence in a move likely to affect numerous online stores that have amassed a huge following on social media.

New CA Director General Ezra Chiloba yesterday said the postal and courier sector has recorded significant growth, particularly during the pandemic, but that this has also come with an influx of rogue service providers preying on users.

“The authority is currently carrying out a market study in the postal and courier sub-sector in order to establish the service access gaps to inform remedies and initiatives towards boosting services for consumers,” Mr Chiloba said while marking the World Post Day.

“The findings will enable the authority to take some interventions and address some of the noted challenges experienced by players and consumers of postal courier services.”

In recent months, consumers have raised concerns about online stores that use social media pages such as Instagram, WhatsApp and Twitter to push their products, which later turn out to be scams.

Users are often directed to make payments through mobile money and once this is done, they find they have been blocked by the store on all platforms, or it has changed usernames.

Communication Authority of Kenya. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru said firms that have not been licensed to operate courier services by the CA should be shut down.

“My ministry and the industry regulator noted with concern that a number of firms took advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to start offering unlicensed courier services in the country,” he said.

“I am calling upon the CA to enhance its enforcement interventions across the country and ensure those firms operating without licences are weeded out of the market.” 

The move for tighter regulation in the sector is also seen as an attempt to give a fighting chance to the Postal Corporation of Kenya.

The State operator is struggling to maintain operations amid myriad challenges arising from technological disruption, competition, mismanagement and the Covid-19 pandemic.   

In April this year, CA revoked the postal and courier licences of 21 service providers, including several bus and matatu Saccos.

These included Modern Coast Courier, Ballore Transport and Logistics, Skynet World Express, Global Freight Logistics, Randa Coach and Tahmeed Courier.

A few months later, PCK increased the cost of sending letters within the country by 57 per cent in the second price review in less than a year.

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