Regulatory Forum discusses future of e-commerce after “Click, Pay, Pray” era
Special event held within the Council of Administration (CA) draws postal regulators from across the world to consider future changes to the universal postal service – 26.04.2018
“The cardinal responsibility of any regulator is to protect the consumer,” said Matano Ndaro, Director of Competition Tariffs and Market Analysis at the Kenyan Communications Authority in his opening statement at the Regulatory Forum held in Berne, Switzerland.
Ndaro, who is joint chair of the CA’s Committee on Universal Service Obligation, Regulatory Affairs and Postal Regulation, went on to discuss the future of e-commerce. He drew a comparison between past attitudes to e-commerce when customers had to “click, pay and pray,” compared to the present day with e-commerce continuing to grow rapidly in size, scope and value.
Titled, “E-commerce and financial models in embracing future changes to the universal postal service”, the conference was opened by Kenan Bozgeyik, Chairman, Council of Administration, who paid tribute to the Universal Postal Union for organizing the discussion.
In his own opening remarks, the Director General of UPU Bishar A. Hussein, said, “the postal community was a unique platform to address all the strategic challenges our sector is facing, whether operational, commercial or regulatory.”
He told participants that postal regulation was an important tool for effectively positioning the postal sector so it could take advantage of the opportunities, but also to maintain the critical infrastructure so that public policy objectives could be achieved.
The UPU chief quoted a UPU survey from 2017 stating that 43 per cent of respondents anticipated policy changes to the universal postal service provision (UPS). Respondents also noted that the cost of UPS, the startling growth of e-commerce and technological shifts were key drives for regulatory changes.
“This is why the topic of our conference today is particularly timely and relevant, as it will address the nexus between e-commerce and the universal postal service, examining both the impacts on regulation as well as the opportunities provided to sector players,” he said.
The universal postal service is perhaps the guiding philosophy behind the world’s postal sector. It ensures that the world benefits from a permanent, quality, basic postal service at all points in the territory, at affordable prices, taking into account both the needs of the population and national conditions.
According to UPU, 102 member countries have established a form of funding mechanism for UPS; however, the major source of funding comes from government subsidy and revenues, or both, from traffic in the reserved area. By contrast, specially created funds were the number one source of funding in Western Europe.
The one-day conference was separated into two panel sessions with the first focusing on e-commerce and the universal postal service: impacts and opportunities. Later in the afternoon, panellists looked at new financial models for the universal postal service.