16 October 2009

Rwanda: Post Office Seeks to Hold On Its 30 Year Monopoly

Kigali — The National Post Office has come out strongly to castigate private courier service providers for operating illegally.

In a rare interview with The New Times, the public courier service provider's Legal officer, Patrick Bidahomba, singled out Atraco, Sotra Tours, Okapi, Virunga, and Muhabura Bus services as the main culprits.

The National Post Office is currently operating under a 1992 law that gives it a monopoly in that field.

Bidahomba said the national post office is supposed to monopolise courier services in the country for 30 years based on a law enacted in 1992 by parliament.

However, the corporation's monopoly days may be numbered with a new bill set to go to parliament soon.

According to the Ministry of Infrastructure's document, on Policy, Liberalisation and Regulation of Postal Sector, the sector is governed by very old laws that the government seeks to reform.

A similar one has been amended for the Telecom sector in the past few years. The first text governing the postal sector is the decree law-No 43/76 of December 1st, 1976, bearing organisation of the postal affairs which defines the monopoly for the historical postal operator.

The government is also drafting a law against illegal courier service providers that has weakened the operations of the national post office.

Bidahomba revealed that when the draft law is approved, it will rein in illegal operators and legalise new operators' services.

The draft has since been forwarded to Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) for approval.

Bidahomba clarified that other operators may be allowed to legally operate provided they fulfill the necessary requirements.

He highlighted that the transport companies have capitalized on the advantage of their operations to different parts of country to frustrate post office's work.

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