Russian Post is hopeful that the government will unveil a strategy for the development of the postal industry this autumn.
The government’s new Minister of Communications and Mass Communications, Nikolai Nikiforov, faced the Russian press on Wednesday and stated the postal sector as one of his five priorities.
Holding a press conference at the headquarters of the state-owned Russian international news agency RIA Novosti in Moscow, the minister said some of his top priorities were to eliminate the digital divide within Russia, to expand access for citizens to the Internet.
He also wants to introduce electronic government and municipal services, setting up a direct e-government system.
Commenting on the national postal system, Nikiforov said Russian Post needed systematic improvements, and that discussions were underway on key issues like the modernisation of Russian Post, postal market regulation, the extent to which liberalisation should occur in the market and the expansion of products and services.
The minister confirmed that there will be decisions on the matter this autumn.
Russia’s new communications minister wants to develop the country’s digital infrastructure, its mass media and modernise Russian Post
The government’s communications ministry also wants to work to develop the mass media industry within Russia – both the print subscriptions and advertising sectors, which new deputy minister of communications Alexei Volin said was turning over around $10bn USD a year in Russia.
Russian Post said following the press conference that the development of the postal industry had become a priority for the Ministry “for the first time in many years”.
“Modernisation and development of the mail has become one of the five priorities of the Ministry of Communications, according to the Minister of Communications and Mass Communications Nikolai Nikiforov,” said the Post, which noted that the minister had suggested changes in leadership at Russian Post were not needed if the organisation works effectively under the forthcoming strategy.
Russian Post has been struggling for years with antiquated infrastructure, and has been working to modernise using its own resources. Last year the state-owned company invested about $270m USD in its modernisation efforts.
However, requests for state support to bring the company fully up to speed in the modern communications age have so far gone unanswered.
Currently profitable, the Post has seen growth in its letter volumes in recent years, but last year saw that growth stalling. Parcel volumes and express mail services meant that overall revenues in 2011 were 12% up on the previous year, however.
Source: Post&Parcel/Russian Ministry of Communications/Russian Post