By Bereng Mpaki
MASERU-The Lesotho Postal Services (LPS) would soon transform into a self-sufficient corporation capable of providing a wide range of services, the Minister of Communication, Science and Technology, Mr Tšeliso Mokhosi, has said.
In an interview, Mokhosi told Public Eye on Tuesday this week the LPS—a department under his Ministry—would, in addition to its traditional postal responsibilities, also exploit emerging opportunities from information technology, thereby contributing to the country’s economic development and job-creation.
Mokhosi said: “Since post offices are available in most parts of the country, they are in a strategic position to provide advanced services to the people. Such services would include the internet, sale of cell-phones and other communication goods, as well as offering services for paying various utility bills such as electricity, water, or even furniture.
“There is no reason why people should travel all the way from their villages to Maseru, just to pay a certain bill as they currently do. We would want to make it easier for the people; we would want them to just walk into the nearest post office and do the payment there because the advancement in information technology has meant there is less need for the conventional function of a post office. So we are trying to move away from that traditional function, of delivering mail and telegrams, in an attempt to stay relevant and being responsive to the needs of the public.”
The minster further said efforts to turn the LPS into an independent body had begun with the reconciliation of the department’s accounts. This process, Mokhosi added, is expected to take two years and would be followed by the establishment of the relevant legal framework.
“We have started with the process of reforming our accounting system because at the moment, it is not in a good state with a backlog of about five years. We have engaged the services of a firm to help us with this task, which would also include the training of our personnel on the accounting software that is going to be installed.
“There is need for financial stability if the transformation into an independent corporation is to succeed; the corporation should be in a position to generate its own income and not rely on government funding anymore. This way, we would be able to contribute something into the government budget and create employment, the way it happens in many countries where postal agencies are available.”