There are over 180 post offices across the country
* Over 500 employees out of over 800 are redundant due to decline in mail volumes by 95% from year 2000 to 2020
By Duncan Mlanjira
Malawi Postal Corporation (MPC), that needs to downsize its staff if government is to recapitalize it for its reform strategy, is inviting applications from those interested to proceed on voluntary retrenchment.
The staff that applies and meet all requirements shall be given severance allowances in accordance with the Employment Act; a notice pay, leave pay for any accrued days and 40% lump sum from the pension scheme.
The 40% lump sum pension scheme applies for those that have clocked 50 years of age or have continuously worked for MPC for not less than 20 years.
In the circular which we have seen, management further says it “reserves the right to reject any application for voluntary retrenchment without providing any reason for doing so”.
In June — during an interface with the Parliamentary Committee on Information and Technology — acting Postmaster General, Zachaeus George Meke and MPC Board chairperson, Noel Mkulichi disclosed that MPC is deep in debt of over MK9.3 billion that is compromising its operations and for it to remain afloat, it needs to be recapitalized by government as the initial stage of turning around.
One of the measures is for the statutory corporation to downsize its staff compliment from 806 to around 310.
This was disclosed by acting Postmaster General, Zachaeus George Meke and MPC chairperson Noel Mkulichi where they said one of their reform area is to do with cost reduction.
Mkulichi told Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) after the meeting that MPC needs to reduce numbers as they have excess staff in the postal service that do not have appropriate qualifications and “need to pay them off in order to restart on good footing”.
He said a functional review done by their human resources department — in liaison with the Office of the President and Cabinet — came up with a staff figure of around 310 if MPC is to remain afloat.
MPC was established in the year 2000 and has over 180 post offices across the country, of which 60 are economically viable while 120 are just running as social services generating as little as MK5,000 in three months while others general nothing per month.
In a separate interview, Meke hinted that the corporation’s staff costs stood at 110% of revenues during the 2019/2020 — signaling that the corporation could not raise enough for salaries.
Meke had hinted the need to urgently downsize so that the corporation could remain afloat.
MPC started struggling from year 2000 when it was established after the split of MPTC, which is mainly due to an upsurge in communication technologies.
The statutory corporation was supposed to be given yearly funding to support the loss making post offices which only came 5 times in its 21-year history leaving out 16 years in unsupported service.
MPC was established to operate postal, financial and other related services. The parastatal used to own Malawi Savings Bank that was delinked from MPC thereby exacerbating its financial position.
Meke recently told the media that MPC has set up a turnaround strategy aimed at transforming MPC into a digitally driven organisation and some if the developments include digitally driven courier, system based ticketing for the bus, introduce e-commerce platform, virtual Post Office, Post Bank among others.
“We are reshaping MPC from being a socially service provider to become a commercially driven business organisation that also target the rural masses to fully profit from,” he had said.
MPC has an intercity passenger coach services fleet that complements its national courier service and plans are underway to introduce plush city bus services which the country had in the past.