The Minister of Post and Telecommunication, MINPOSTEL, Minette Libom Li Likeng, has declared that the year 2020 marks the end of administrative tolerance on the part of stakeholders clandestinely operating in the postal service in Cameroon amidst the regularisation of the sector back in 2006.
She was speaking during the solemn ceremony to hand over operating licences to 14 newly authorised postal operators of the private postal courier services. The ceremony took place on December 28, 2020, at the conference hall of the said ministry in Yaounde.
According to the Minister, “for those who are still behind the line, there was an administrative tolerance and 2020 is the end of this administrative tolerance. We are going to close, we are going to take to court if they go on working without following the law because those 25 who have paid their duties should be protected, need to develop their activities, so that it would be a win-win partnership.”
Going by her words, there is need to recognise the commitment of those who willfully accepted to be citizen operators of the postal service because since 2006 that the postal sector was liberalised, all stakeholders worked in the informal sector. To this effect, there would be a zero tolerance come 2021 reason being that, the first ever licences were delivered on December 2019 to some 11 postal enterprises authorising the exploitation of the postal sector.
Thus, following the campaign to sensitise various actors on the importance to quit the clandestine way as 14 others joined the move, taking the total number of authorised companies to operate in the postal service in Cameroon to 25. In this wise, “the liberalization of the postal sector in Cameroon, enshrined in Law No. 2006/019 of 29 December 2006 governing postal activity in Cameroon, has led to the entry of private operators, whose activities are increasingly developing with an expansion over time of the size of the national postal market.”
Asked if what will change in the operating system of authorised enterprises, the Minister said, “what changes for them is that they are henceforth official partners of MINPOSTEL with respect to the development of the postal sector which is called upon to be an important sector. With the advent of digital economy where there is e-commerce, this sector is called to deliver mails in remote areas and in big cities.”
“You have entered a sector of activity that faces major challenges. The aim here is to meet the needs of an increasingly demanding clientele and consumers, particularly in terms of quality of service and value-added services. In order to meet them, it is imperative to adapt to the technological changes of the day. I therefore urge you to take advantage of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to not only strengthen your service offering, but also to propose innovative offers which will improve the day-to-day operation of your sector of activity,” said Minette Libom Li Likeng to newly authorised postal companies.
In addition, the State, which at the same time ensures the regulation of this sector, and does not control the postal environment, was experiencing difficulties in the development and implementation of a real policy conducive to the development of the sector. This, despite a regulatory framework defining the framework and conditions for the exercise of postal activities by the private sector.
In fact, this regulatory framework specifies that courier companies, that is,. those responsible for sending, transporting and distributing letters and parcels, money transfer companies, as well as digital/e-commerce postal operators are postal operators and therefore fall under the jurisdiction of the Administration in charge of Posts in Cameroon, which ensures their supervision in collaboration with other competent administrations.
In order to put an end to the disordered situation that characterised the national postal market, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications has been engaged since 2019 in a programme to clean up this market.
In a bid to ensure that all operators take on board the regulatory provisions and strictly comply with legality, this programme, which started in its first phase with awareness raising campaigns and impregnation seminars carried out throughout the national territory, missions to record infringements and formal notices.
The second phase was devoted to the collection of the duties owed by private operators to the State, in respect of the exercise of postal activity, in application of the regulatory provisions. The delivery of the installation and operation authorization is subject to the satisfaction of all the conditions required by law, including the payment of entry fees.
Therefore, Minette Libom Li Likeng reiterated the support of her ministerial department to all 25 authorised private postal enterprises as they will eventually work hand-in-hand with the state owned postal company to enhance the development of the sector in Cameroon.