ARUSHA : THE government has taken several steps to strengthen postal services and ensure that the sector remains relevant in the changing world, including the review of National Postal Policy.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan revelled this yesterday during the inauguration of Pan African Postal Union (PAPU) tower in Arusha.

She said that postal services are still relevant in an increasingly digital world and a prerequisite of development and economic growth of any nation.

“To strengthen the postal sector, the government reviewed the National Postal Policy by incorporating social and economic development and the growing use of technology in provision of postal services and introduce new services,” Dr Samia said.

She said last year the government also executed the Postcode and Physical Addressing System which has been used as guidance by postal operators in delivering goods and other services in the country.

“Every household in our country has been given its number and streets have been named, making it easier to access them … during the exercise, a total of 12.7 million addresses were identified which facilitated the country to successfully carry out the National Population and Housing Census,” Dr Samia noted.

The Head of State said the addresses enabled the government to create a digital system dubbed National Physical Addressing (NaPA) which has reduced costs and time of proving and receiving services in all sectors, noting that some institutions have also started using the system.

Dr Samia further said that the country has also established one stop centres for provision of various services such as immigration, passport, terminal benefits, business registration, National Identification services and Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) among others.

“All these services can be accessed under one postal building … this is huge development and relevance of postal services,” the president noted.

She said making such services available under one roof has helped the government to cut costs because each institution could have its own office building at district and even ward levels.

She further noted that the government is implementing a digital project aimed at increasing the use of internet and facilitate e- commerce and increase the number of postal and parcel service providers.

In the same vein, President Samia challenged African countries to use their airlines in transporting parcels.

She said postal service was a prerequisite of development and economic growth of any nation, stressing the importance of enhancing its services through the airlines.

“It will be a wise decision if we use our own planes to ship parcels and other cargo within Africa, mindful of the potential of the postal services,” the President said.

Dr Samia equally challenged African countries that were yet to join the continental postal union to do so, with a view of enhancing postal services and integrating the continent.

PAPU has a membership of 45 states currently, from the 35 Member States at its inception.

Despite fewer members it has to its name, PAPU was still grappling with a continuous decline in Member States mandatory contributions which negatively impacts on the operations of the General Secretariat and implementation of the Union’s activities.

Speaking in March this year, PAPU Secretary General, Dr Sifundo Chief Moyo said total contributions received for current year represent 47 per cent of the $1.4 million expected from Member States’ total annual contributions, while total statutory indebtedness by Member States as of February 20 this year, stood at $ 6.3million.

Dr Samia challenged African Union (AU) specialised agency to keep pace with the ever-changing technological advancements to remain relevant.

“Back then even donkeys were used for transportation purposes, but that has since changed and we should also do the same,” she urged.

The president also called upon PAPU to widen its scope to facilitate connection on the continent.

She equally urged the postal union to embrace e-commerce while running its day-to-day activities.

The iconic state of the art building which is now the tallest facility in town is expected to house Universal Postal Union (UPU) and Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) regional offices, among others.

It was built through a joint venture arrangement where PAPU holds a 60 per cent ownership while the government through TCRA commands the remaining 40.

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