Officials at the Malawi Posts Corporation (MPC) are actively promoting a shift in how Malawians perceive the post office, encouraging them to view it as more than just a place for sending letters and embrace its diverse range of services.
This call coincided with Malawi’s participation in the global observance of World Post Day on Monday.
Marked with the theme ‘Together for trust: Collaboration for a safe and connected future,’ this year’s commemoration urged governments and their postal operators to unite in promoting the establishment of a digital single postal domain that aligns with the physical networks built over centuries.
In Malawi, postal services are experiencing a decline in prominence due to the rapid advancements of digital technologies.
Speaking to Capital Radio Malawi, MPC Regional Manager for the northern region Muwanayo Siyame, expressed optimism that reshaping Malawians’ perception of the post office will contribute to reinvigorating these institutions.
“Being the World Post Day, what we are simply doing is we are commemorating the day, we are simply looking at what post offices have done over the years delivering services, connecting people, governments, institutions,” Siyame said.
“However, the issue is that many people used to know the post office as an institution, a delivery vehicle that sends and receives mail, but the post office is more than that. As we are in the digital era, we are changing, and our focus is now shifting towards embracing digital domains, such as e-commerce, e-finance, and e-government to better serve our evolving society,” he said.
Addressing the issue of attracting customers, Siyame emphasized their commitment to maintaining a customer-centric approach.
“Our primary goal is to meet the evolving needs of our customers. As the world rapidly changes, we must adapt to these changes and fulfill our customers’ needs,” he explained.
While post offices continue to operate in towns and cities, their vibrancy has waned in rural areas, with prolonged periods of closure, something one would conclude is the complete shutdown of these offices, and Siyame acknowledges this discrepancy.
Said Siyame; “They are not closed but they are not vibrant, but the thing is we have to look at the needs of the people in rural areas and provide services tailor-made to those needs. Maybe there can be a platform to say the people in the rural areas also should be able to access the services that are being offered in town.”
Meanwhile, customers of the post office are expressing varying opinions about MPC services in the country.
One of the customers we met at Mzuzu Post Office Beatrice Mbamba praised the post office for its reliable mail and parcel delivery services.
“I feel like the post office services are good,” Mbamba said. I have received mail and parcels from them before and sent them to friends as well. It is just a matter of how you can afford it in terms of how fast you want your parcel delivered so in terms of deliveries I think they are doing pretty well.”
On the other hand, another customer Beatrice Nkosi Kaunda, while acknowledging the post office’s services, pointed out occasional delays in receiving mail from outside, urging improvements in this regard.
“I can say that sometimes they delay to deliver. I have been expecting my mail since last week. Checking my waybill from where the letter is coming from, it is showing that the letter is already in the country but I have just checked my mailbox and it is not yet in,” Nkosi Kaunda said.