GOVERNMENT through the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority and Zimpost has embarked on a national address and postcode project aimed at providing an address for every citizen in the country. The programme is earmarked to start in the first quarter of 2013 and is expected to produce an address database that will be available to all sectors.
In a statement read on his behalf at the commemoration of World Post Day held in Kwekwe at the weekend, Transport, Communications and Infrastructural Development Minister Nicholas Goche said a feasibility study had already been undertaken with the initial pilot project expected to commence in Harare's Mount Pleasant and Bulawayo's Nkulumane suburbs.
"Another pilot project will run concurrently in Shamva North in order to understand the unique needs of the rural setting. When fully implemented I believe that this project will benefit operators, consumers, the police, the health sector as well as other stakeholders," Minister Goche said.
He said the provision of addresses and postcodes would be of immense help to disaster management teams during times of floods and other natural disasters. The project is part of an effort by the ministry to bring development to traditionally under served areas such as rural areas.
Minister Goche said although postal and courier services were key vehicles and drivers of development, there was a realisation that these services were not infiltrating into the rural areas.
"I personally consider this lost potential for economic growth and development as a grave threat to our Government's plans as well as the millennium development goals," he said.
He also noted that Government had prioritised the development of the country into a knowledge-based and technology driven nation to ensure widespread provision of postal and courier services to the rural areas where the majority of the country's population lives.
"The postal sector is known to have the longest footprint the world over. In some areas a post office is one of the few places that facilitate delivery of public services by central Government.
"Gone are the days when provision of postal and courier services were divorced from the ICT based technology solutions. It is against this background that I wish to urge all postal and courier service providers to partner with their counterparts in the telecommunications subsection in providing quality postal and courier services to our people," said Minister Goche.
He reiterated the need for the regulator and other stakeholders to find ways of facilitating special dispensation that ensures provision of postal services through ICT based technologies as modern ways of providing postal services were key to development. He said putting these measures in place would complement the policies that have been put in place by Government and in turn translate into a breakthrough of immense value to the country.