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ICT CS Eliud Owalo: Government to revitalize Postal Corporation of Kenya

ICT and Digital Economy Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Cabinet Secretary for Information, Communication and the Digital Economy Eliud Owalo says he will revitalize the Postal Corporation of Kenya (PCK).

In a press release shortly after a familiarization visit to PCK offices, the CS noted the need to reposition the corporation in a competitive digital business environment.

“During my vetting by the National Assembly, I identified revitalization of the Postal Corporation of Kenya (POK), among my key priorities. This corporation that was once literally the jewel in the government’s crown dozed off, ahead of the technological advances of the past few decades. It has been left behind in the critical revolution that is the engine of the new world order.

The corporation has often missed the opportunity to harness the benefits of the ongoing Fourth Industrial Revolution, and to leverage on them for growth and wider relevance as a critical player in the communications sector, and in the wider national economy,” said Owalo.

‘Posta’ as it is famously known by most Kenyans dates from the early years of the 19th century. CS Owalo emphasized the need to keep up with competition from new players, something that has been cited as one of the challenges facing PCK.

“In real terms, this corporation has been around for more than two centuries. It is awkward that some of the competition complained about is from entities that are only a couple of decades old. This can only mean that the corporation did not anticipate change and prepare for it.

ICT and Digital Economy CS Eliud Owalo held an exploratory session with the board of directors on how to revitalize and reposition the corporation in a competitive digital business environment. [Twitter: @EliudOwalo]

The state of the art in the corporation speaks to the cost of complacency. This is common in organizations that consider themselves to be invincible monopolies. For long, the Postal Corporation basked in the glory of State protection and invincibility. Even when the signs of change and danger began coming from outside, nothing was done to keep the corporation competitive,” said Owalo.

The CS challenged officials in the corporation, adding that the choice is to continue looking as the sleeping giant moves from sleep towards atrophy or wake up the giant. According to him, the government will revitalize the sleeping giant.

“We must jolt PCK from sleep, before it sleeps forever. It must take up its rightful place as a strategic State agency in the emerged and future competitive technological and business marketplace. The corporation has tended to succumb to the challenges posed by accelerated migration of the country and the world to digital communications platforms.

Having not read the signs; or having read the signs but not adjusted in a timely manner, the corporation is clearly in the grip of stiff competition from the private sector. It also has to contend with high costs of infrastructure. Yet, it also has the obligation to provide Universal Postal Services (UPS) to the country,” said Owalo.

ICT and Digital Economy CS Eliud Owalo when he visited PCK Offices in Nairobi. [Twitter: @EliudOwalo]

In an attempt to wake up the sleeping giant, CS Owalo highlighted what he termed as ‘transformational pillars’.

“Five transformational pillars to reform PCK have previously been identified. They are in the areas of: policy and regulatory environment; the corporation’s financial management; internal organization and governance; product and services; technology and innovation.

These are the five principal areas that my ministry intends to foreground in the PCK revitalization process.  Going forward, detailed interventions will be necessary in each of these broad areas. The Ministry will engage with the corporation at the right levels, to work out these details.” said Owalo.

The CS also noted probable interventions in the short-term, mid-term and long-term within the corporation. They include review of financial management, reviewing the place of the corporation in the face of the country’s E-commerce, reviewing internal organization and governance, reviewing use of technology among others.