BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
ZIMPOST says the COVID-19-induced closure of business, including educational institutions during the first quarter of this year resulted in the loss of 80% of its projected volumes as the company’s business depends on third party business operations.
During the beginning of this year, government imposed a national lockdown following a surge in COVID-19 cases, a situation which created a major problem for companies as well as most citizens who rely on the informal sector.
It is estimated that at least 30% of formal jobs have been lost since the advent of the pandemic in March last year. The World Bank estimates that 500 000 Zimbabweans have lost their jobs due to the scourge.
Zimpost acting postmaster-general Isaac Muchokomori told NewsDay Business that their revenue and volumes were depressed due to the national lockdown.
“The imposed restriction on transit mail by other countries resulted in Zimpost not being able to send out international mail. The restrictions imposed by France, for example, caused us not to exchange international mail with about 29 countries. However, the situation is now improving as the restrictions on transit international mail were eased,” he said.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has put unprecedented pressure on the international postal network. The effects of the global pandemic have caused a major disruption in the global economy and the country, and Zimpost has not been spared either.”
With the border closures and the disruption of air routes worldwide, Muchokomori said international mail conveyance between countries inevitably suffered.
He said the disruption of international mail services due to the suspension of airlines affected outgoing and incoming mail conveyance.
“Zimpost would like to appreciate the government of Zimbabwe for placing postal services under the essential services category which enabled the company to service domestic routes,” he said.
“The closure of industries and commercial entities, tertiary institutions and schools during the first quarter, however, resulted in the loss of 80% of the projected volumes for Zimpost as the company’s business depends on third party business operations,” Muchokomori said.
He said the Zimpost retained its crucial presence in the market and was able to continuously distribute food and medical items, carry out domestic and international money transfer services, government services and provision of bureau de change services during the lockdown period.
“Zimpost has been able to adapt and change its business model during the COVID-19 crisis. Zimpost postal initiatives have received international recognition under postal operator best practices in its e-commerce support services for MSMEs, e-government programmes, delivery of pensions to the elderly and fast-tracked personal protective equipment production and deliveries to citizens and businesses,” he said.
Muchokomori said Zimpost had been grappling with foreign currency shortages to procure fuel which is affecting the smooth floor of operations.
Zimpost boasts an unparalleled postal distribution network anchored on over 130 years of postal, logistics, courier and real estate experience.
He said the shortage of foreign currency for direct fuel imports had seen Zimpost taking longer than usual to deliver mail.
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