Post office contests “infringement” in courier business

KIGALI - The National Post Office has accused public transport companies of venturing into courier services, a business that was previously reserved for the public agency.The posts body alleges that it had the exclusive rights to pick and deliver parcels, as opposed to transport companies, which he said should focus on transporting passengers.
Post Office Director General, Celestin Kayitare
Post Office Director General, Celestin Kayitare

KIGALI - The National Post Office has accused public transport companies of venturing into courier services, a business that was previously reserved for the public agency.

The posts body alleges that it had the exclusive rights to pick and deliver parcels, as opposed to transport companies, which he said should focus on transporting passengers.

“As an authorised public company, our rights were infringed on by private businesses, many of which engage in postal services yet they have no license for it,” said Celestin Kayitare, the Director General of the National Post Office.

He said that only International, a local transport company, sought the post office’s authorisation before venturing into courier business.

“But they too no longer seek our (periodic) permission,” he lamented.

Evode Sekindi, the owner of Capital, a bus company, contradicted Kayitare’s version, arguing that there was no law in place that barred them from engaging in courier business. However, he said his company had suspended the business until they are authorised to undertake money transfer services.

Rutayisire Dieudonne, the head of Safari Company, a business transport agency, which transports parcels alongside passengers, said he was unaware of any legal restrictions to the business.

“I don’t think there is any legal procedure that we are obliged to follow to transport goods. It is just like when we transport people; I actually did not know that the Post Office does that business too.”

Col. (rtd) Twahirwa Dodo, the president of Atraco, a local transport association, said they do not deal in courier services.

Efforts to the talk to the regulators, RURA, were futile as the Ag. Director General, Regis Gatarayiha, could not answer nor return our calls. 

However, speaking on condition of anonymity, a RURA official admitted that transport companies indeed engage in the courier business without authorisation, although he was quick to add that this did not amount to breach of any law.

He, however, said the business will be regulated once a new ICT bill, which is currently under consideration in Parliament, is enacted into law.

“Those who send their parcels through registered couriers will be guaranteed that their packages will get to destinations safely,” the source explained.

Miracle Ginama, a student of Kayonza Modern School, said the once RURA steps in to regulate the business, it should improve, rather than disrupt it.

“When our parents send us money at school, we easily get it because transport companies have considerably become better in this service. But now that they are bringing in a regulator, they may increase their charges because of taxes, or even drop the business altogether. RURA should consider the public first.”

Ends

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