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Senate body approves bill to regulate courier, logistics services

Updated April 23, 2019

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Nine years after its inception, the draft bill to establish a regulatory body for courier and logistics businesses has been approved by the Senate Standing Committee on Postal Services. — APP/File
Nine years after its inception, the draft bill to establish a regulatory body for courier and logistics businesses has been approved by the Senate Standing Committee on Postal Services. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: Nine years after its inception, the draft bill to establish a regulatory body for courier and logistics businesses has been approved by the Senate Standing Committee on Postal Services.

Stakeholders invited to the meeting and Senator Mirza Mohammad Afridi objected to the bill on the grounds that the new authority would grant leverage to the Pakistan Post, contrary to the environment of fair competition in the sector.

Since committee chair Senator Khushbakht Shujat also moved The Pakistan Courier and Logistic Regulatory Authority Bill 2018, the meeting was chaired by Senator Bahramand Khan Tangi.

The committee was told by officials that the government supports the bill.

Senator Shujat said that there are more than 1,000 courier and logistics service providers but no regulations or registration agency to enlist these companies. She said even the Post Office would have to register with the proposed authority and its services would have to be in the authority’s knowledge.

Senator Tangi added that after registering with the authority the Post Office would also be under discipline and it would be easier to ascertain the flaws in the department.

Representatives from two major courier services also presented their cases to the senators, expressing concerns that stakeholders were not consulted.

They said the proposed regulatory authority would hurt their businesses because it would grant the Pakistan Post monopolistic powers.

“There are certain clauses that make managerial decision difficult,” said Ayesha Rafique, representing the courier companies. “We fear over-regulationin the courier business after this authority is formed.”

Meanwhile, Senator Afridi raised the issue that the bill proposes the new authority to be under the Ministry of Postal Services, which will indirectly make the Pakistan Post the beneficiary of the regulations.

He also said that there should be different regulatory requirements in the bill for various categories of logistic companies.

“The passenger transporters at motorways also carry small parcels and that too is a logistics service but it is not their core business and they are not a registered courier or logistic company,” he said.

It was even suggested that new authority be placed under the Cabinet Division instead of the ministry, but that was turned down by committee members.

The bill was approved by the committee and forwarded to the Senate. Once approved in Senate the bill would be forwarded to the National Assembly.

Published in Dawn, April 23rd, 2019