Nepal | April 19, 2019

Nepal Post: Time for innovation

Dhananjay Shah

The future of Nepal Post starts now. Nepal Post must work towards creating products and services that meet the needs of current and future customers. It must focus on innovation, integration and inclusion

Mail box. Illustration: Ratna Sagar Shrestha/THT

Mail box. Illustration: Ratna Sagar Shrestha/THT

Today we live in the 21st century where the ICTs (Information Communication Technologies) have redefined the way of communication and redrawn the boundaries. In the past, the communication was merely limited to letters. There is a rich history and heritage behind the postal world of communication. Over the years, the post has witnessed a transformation from its regular services to the advance ICT-friendly services. Years have passed by but its relevance and importance is still crucial in the sending information and goods in the world market. Of course, the post has a reason to feel proud of its legacy of being the oldest medium of communication.

In the past, Hulak or the postal system in Nepal throughout history depended largely on people to deliver letters and goods across this country. There was categorization of the postal service system: One was the kagate hulak and the other was thaple hulak. The former was for the transportation of official mail and the latter for transporting goods, gifts, arms and ammunitions for the state, king or army. While kagat means paper, thaple is derived from thaplo meaning forehead. In synopsis, Nepali people carried “mail” across Nepal literally on their backs.

Nepali stamps were for the first time issued in April 1881 as a set of three. These stamps were in set in the value of one aanaa, two aanaas and four aanaas. These stamps were printed on European paper. From 1886 onwards, Nepal embarked on printing stamps on hand-made Nepali paper. Numerous printings of these first three values on the local paper were made till 1907. In 1907 AD, again European manufactured stamps picturing Pashupatinath was printed and issued. The remainders of initial stamps bearing three values of 1, 2 and 3 aanaas were used and reissued for telegraphs in 1917 AD.

Nepal became a member of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) on 11 October, 1956 (Ottawa Congress) and entered the global network of posts. In 1974, Nepal signed the UPU Parcel Post Agreement. Nepal received membership of the Asian-Pacific Postal Union (APPU) in 1982. After the restoration of multiparty democracy in the country in 1990, a new and comprehensive National Communication Policy, 1992 was brought forward by the government. This policy had accepted the need of an autonomous postal authority to be sharp and effective in the era of globalization and competitive market.

There has been a skyrocketing development in the communication sector. Rapid advancement of modern communication technologies has impacted the traditional business of the post. These days the trend of writing letters and sending them through post has plunged dramatically. As a result, there has been a let-up in the regular task of postal service. Realizing this change Nepal Post has been operating modern valuable services such as money transfer, postal saving bank, remittance, tele-center, e-post and so on and so forth.

Hulak or Nepal Post still has a long way to go. It has a Herculean task to assimilate the change and innovation drive. Nepal’s hulak has not still been able to take full-fledged advantages of modern ICTs to improve the business performance. One thing is black and white: the survival of hulak largely hinges on its ability to rapidly change and innovate. Customer expectations, needs and tastes are changing, and hulak must change as well so as to meet these new demands.

Nepal Post or hulak has to embrace the Vision 2020. It should uphold the reality that the future of the post strongly depends on its ability to innovate and create new products and services. One of the keys to innovation will be the hulak’s capacity to embrace new technologies and transfer its trusted brands into the digital space. To achieve this goal, it will be critical for hulak to develop digital competencies, train and attract its human resources, and to make the relevant regulatory frameworks that will support the new environment.

For successful integration, hulak will need to build a seamless network that is connected both virtually and physically that has a local and international presence. Full integration calls for the involvement of all key players in the postal supply chain, including customs and transport, and the facilitation of cross-border e-commerce.

The world posts have a more relevant role to play as an infrastructure for development. In line with this global development and keeping its universal nature in mind, hulak can do a big deal to drive the economic, social, financial and digital inclusion of all citizens of the world. Through its vast network, the post should target micro, small and medium-sized enterprises as well as the unbanked population as a new business frontier and create appropriate products to support the market.

The future of Nepal Post starts now. Nepal Post must work towards creating products and services that meet the needs of current and future customers. It must focus on innovation, integration and inclusion in its business mission to remain a strong and viable organization of Government of Nepal for the future. If Nepal Post can act soon with that realization, then only it will be able to achieve success and maintain its place in the competitive market with its presence and relevance. It’s now or never.

The writer is the planning officer of National Planning Commission, Government of Nepal

A version of this article appears in print on February 19, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.

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