Ambassador Bishar A Hussein, the next UPU director general and former Kenyan postmaster general, discusses his priorities for the global postal sector.
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Supporting the USO
With many postal markets around the world at the moment characterised by market liberalisation and increasing competition, and almost all facing the problem of declining physical mail volumes, Hussein says the job of the national postal regulators continues to be an important one.
He says for regulators one of the major challenges is the balance between the commercial sustainability of the posts they regulate and the affordability of universal postal services for citizens.
As regulators look to promote “viable and vibrant” postal sectors, Hussein warns that thought needs to go into how exactly universal postal service obligations are funded.
“Governments and the National Postal Regulators while opening the postal sector should also put in place some mechanisms to compensate the Designated Operators for the losses they sustain in providing Universal Service in less productive or lucrative areas,” he says.
“Regulators should therefore consider the establishment of Universal Service Funds to compensate the Designated Operators.”
The important role of Posts as drivers for social change in their respective countries is also a key part of the Doha Postal Strategy being discussed at the UPU Congress this month.
Whoever wins the election on 10th October, the next UPU director general will come from a developing world country, bringing with them a different perspective than the outgoing Edouard Dayan.
Hussein says Posts have always been a force for social good – and should remain so – championing sustainable development.
He says that UPU must particularly support the development of postal communications in emerging economies, and pledges that the organisation will “engage postal executives, governments, regulatory authorities and Restricted Unions to undertake or enhance postal sector reforms in its member countries, and provide all necessary technical and professional support.”
In whichever sphere of the world they are in, Hussein emphasizes the platform that Posts provide in offering affordable and accessible communication solutions to all citizens, and states that governments and businesses must also recognize the platform they have in the Post in reaching citizens and markets across the world, and make the Post “an important component of the social and economic improvement of the citizens of the world”.
One of the interesting projects being discussed at the Doha Congress is an initiative called “Addressing the World – An Address for Everyone”, which puts forward a declaration for member countries to sign on 9th October, to commit to investing in more efficient national addressing systems.
As well as improving the efficiency of mail processing, as well as postal security and reliability, the initiative aims to help turnaround the situation in which as many as four billion people in the world do not currently have an address, and do not have the ability to receive mail.
Hussein says provision of universal postal services is at the core of the UPU convention and viewed as a fundamental human right, but he adds that actual implementation of this responsibility falls to individual member countries.
He says: “The governments of the member countries together with the designated operators and the regulators in concert with the UPU have a golden opportunity to develop and implement national addressing systems that will enable every citizen to have an address and render delivery and provision of other services accurately, securely and in a timely fashion.”
The UPU leadership election takes place on the morning of 10th October, 2012. To read an interview with Uruguay’s candidate for the director-general position, Dr Serrana Bassini Casco, click here.
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Source: James Cartledge, Post&Parcel