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ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Postal Services on Tuesday noted that the Post Office was not only a commercial entity of the government but an essential utility department and the government should ensure its restructuring to make it a viable state-owned unit.

The committee was discussing Pakistan Post’s request to increase commission on selling prize bonds and other products of National Savings to 1.5pc from the existing 0.5pc.

Though the senators turned down the demand on the grounds that postal services needed to be more efficient, chairperson of the committee inquired the reasons of their high cost of doing business.

Postal Services Director General Rubina Tayyab informed the committee that the National Savings had stopped providing various saving papers like Defence Saving Certificates, Pension Fund Certificates, Behbood Certificates, etc., despite high demand.

“Post Office wants to improve penetration in the micro-level financial sector, but they are not even responding to the draft MoU which is with the National Savings for the last six months,” she said adding: “We have 12,000 Post Office branches all over the country compared to mere 400 outlets of National Savings and 11,000 branches of all banks.”

She said that not only there was a very high demand for saving certificates in rural areas and remote places but it was beneficial to promote the culture of saving in the country.

On their part the official of National Savings said Post Office was not up to the mark regarding audit standards and presented pervious examples.

However, the officers of postal services informed the committee that those audit complaints and lacunas had been removed.

Senator Mohsin Aziz, Senator Anwar Lal Dean and Senator Bahramand Khan Tangi suggested that the finance ministry to finalise the MOU within two months in collaboration with the management of National Savings and Postal Services.

The committee was also informed that the board of Postal Services was only a ceremonial body and even the basic decisions were finally made by the finance ministry or the Establishment Division.

“We cannot raise the price of stamps or even negotiate with bulk client to lower rates despite competition from various private couriers,” DG Postal Services said.

Published in Dawn, August 29th, 2018