The advancement of telecom technology looks well on the path to render Nepal’s Postal Services Department (PSD) out of business as people prefering placing phone calls and sending text messages or writing emails to their loved ones, friends and families to using the mail.
According to PSD, the post offices nationwide today deliver about 55 per cent less packages of ordinary, registered and insured items, including small packets, parcels and money orders than what they did in 2006.
And this has resulted in significant drop in the revenues.
While the PSD earned Rs 261 million in 2006, its income in 2007 dropped to Rs 244 million with a further decline in 2008 to Rs 196 million. The expenditures, how
ever, are steadily climbing up the curve. It was Rs 916 million in 2006, Rs 1,001 million in 2007 and Rs 1,317 million in 2008.
But there’s a silver lining too. What has grown in number in recent past is: book posts. Lok Prasad Acharya, director general of PSD, said it is high time the government body diversified its services effectively, which it has already started by such as operating deposit bank,
money order service and rural telecentres.
“In order to run these services at full potential, we need autonomy, which will ease the decision making process,” he added. “We’ve proposed to the Ministry of Information and Communications to grant us an autonomous status enabling us to enforce immediate reforms such as staff managing and infrastructure development.” The postal service is also reeling under acute staff shortage with
about one third of its posts are vacant, particularly because it cannot recruit on its own. The Public Service Commission se lects candidates for permanent appointment and also recom mends the promotion of officials while the Ministry of General Administration needs to transfer officials working under other ministries. According to Kedar Bhattarai, under secretary at the PSD, most officials sought transfer since there were no lucrative posts, evident that 82 of the 118 officers’ slots in offices under the department are vacant.
“We need authority and resources to upgrade our banks and manage safety,” said Acharya, adding that the department did not have its own fleet of vehicles, a factor responsible for the delay in delivery of mails which the government utility is often blamed for.