A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Postal Services took strong notice of the absence of the Secretary Ministry of Postal Services in its meeting on Friday at Parliament House. Members of the Committee decided to visit Chairman Senate, Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani and share their grievances regarding this issue, after Friday prayers.
Chaired by Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Sheikh, the members present included Senator Senator Mirza Muhmmad Afridi, Senator Anwar Lal Dean, Senator Aurangzeb Khan, Senator Islamuddin Sheikh and senior officers from Post Office Department along with all concerned.
The meeting commenced with an update on the compliance status on recommendations from previous meetings. Other agenda items included details of accumulated losses of postal services, appointment discrepancies during other regimes, rebranding of GPOs and payment of outstanding dues to an employee who died in service on account of Prime Minister’s Assistance Package.
Deliberating over updates on accumulated losses the Committee was informed that increase in pay allowances and pension benefits was a major contributor towards the widening gap between expenditure and revenue. It is also believed that the Finance Division has decreased the rate of post office commission in Savings Bank Scheme from 1.56 percent to 0.50 percent in October, 2010 which has reduced the Agency receipts of the Department. Chairman Committee Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Sheikh while reviewing details recommended that operating expenditure against income must be added as well.
While reviewing recruitment discrepancies during previous regimes, the Committee recommended that Pakistan Post must focus on figures. A separate briefing was recommended on National Industrial Relations Commission (NIRC).
Discussing rebranding and modernization the Committee was informed about same day delivery service, mobile app, pick up service and e-commerce. The Committee was informed that Pakistan Post had registered 700 partners to date and 260 packets have been delivered. The number of registered users of the mobile app was 50000. The Committee showed concern regarding small number of users and enquired its reasons.
Speaking about EMS plus, a specialized service for the export sector , that aims to deliver parcels at major overseas destinations in 72 hours, with real time track nd trce facilities. Chairman Committee, Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Sheikh advised the organization to consult with the Ministry of Commerce to brainstorm ideas for improvement of service.
Discussing rebranding of GPOs and other services, the Committee directed Pakistan Post to provide details of costing in the next meeting. The Committee was informed that the organization was collaborating with NADRA to renew CNIC through Pak ID at Post offices. This initiative, it was stated, is on a pilot stage. Chairman Committee, Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Sheikh directed that an exclusive briefing in this regard must be given to the Committee.
Regarding Automation of Post Offices through Korean Exim Bank Loan, the Committee was informed that PC-1 for digitization of Post Offices was prepared on the basis of feasibility report. The Committee gave directions for a separate meeting on this issue and said that funding must be provided by the Government on valued projects, rather than procuring loans on high interest rates.
In relation to SAP ERP the Committee was informed that this project would entail a cost of USD 8 million for two years. Chairman Committee, Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Sheikh was of the view that the projects discussed were good, however, the Department lacks focus and funds to carry it through.
Enquiring about Army, Navy and Airforce pensions, Chairman Committee, Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Sheikh was of the view that using banks for the purpose was against that rules on this part of Act, he asserted. He gave instructions for a separate briefing on the issue.