The CRA Act, 2012 ushered in a new dawn of regulation for the postal sector as BOCRA assumed the mandate of supervising the provision of postal service in Botswana. The CRA Act prohibits any person to provide postal services without a valid licence issued by BOCRA. The Authority is also mandated to ensure that there is provision of safe, reliable, efficient and affordable postal services throughout Botswana.
BOCRA has prepared the ground for regulation of postal services by putting in place regulatory instruments and tools such as licensing requirements for courier companies and interim licences and authorisations for postal operators.
Current Market Structure
The postal market comprises BotswanaPost as the main player with 124 post offices spread across the country, 82 postal agencies. Other players include commercial operators who, to a large extent, lease facilities from BotswanaPost as well as a number of courier companies offering express services. Commercial operators and courier companies are largely concentrated in urban areas and focus on some niche markets while BotswanaPost covers a wider populace.
Licensing of Courier Companies
BOCRA granted two year interim licences to Courier Services Licences to Botswana Couriers and Logistics, Supaswift Botswana, Parrot Worldwide Express, Silvertron529, Sprint Couriers and Fast and Furious International pending the formulation of a comprehensive licensing framework for the postal sector. The licensed courier companies were in existence prior to the implementation of the CRA Act.
Designation of a Public Postal Operator
Pursuant to section 67 of the CRA Act, the Minister responsible for Communications must designate one postal service provider as a Public Postal Operator. A Public Postal Operator carries a number of universal service obligations aimed at ensuring that, so far as it is practicable, postal services reach all inhabitants of Botswana. Invariably, this mandate includes provision of universal postal services in areas that are not commercially viable and hence the need to continuously explore new ways of funding this mandate as it cannot be sustained through Government funding alone.
During the period under review BOCRA embarked on an exercise to identify the key stakeholders in the postal sector as well as to make them aware of the requirements of the law as it pertains to regulation of the postal sector. The exercise involved running public notices in the media as well as public education during kgotla meetings and other stakeholder consultative fora. In addition to the stakeholder consultation.