Is CRAN becoming too much on local industry players? …as it seeks to regulate courier and postal services

As stakeholders met yesterday to debate the Communication Regulatory Authority’s (CRAN) intention to license those that deliver postal and courier services, it has been advised against crushing small business out of operation by charging them exorbitant fees for licenses.

The main objectives of the proposed regulations include setting up a formalised process for granting, amendments, transfers, renewals, withdrawals and suspensions of postal service licenses as well as having an established licensing regime.

Former NAMFISA chief executive officer turned private consultant, Rainer Ritter out-rightly criticised CRAN’s authority to regulate the industry and has been irked by a proposal that such service providers pay N$10 000 to get licensed.

“A small business shouldn’t pay too much to operate its business because if you have a truck you pay for your license fee, you pay petrol or diesel and there is a levy on that already.”

“And if you have a courier service and they intend to regulate it you pay N$10 000 for a license fee and they have announced also that they impose tariffs on the industry but big companies can pay N$10 000, for a small operator it is impossible to pay that much,” said Ritter.

 He said CRAN is creating an unleveled playing field by imposing high tariffs on small operators which is contrary to the government stance of inclusivity.

“I think the courier services shouldn’t be regulated by CRAN because there is another transported Act where you are regulated already. So it is just an additional burden. There are only 30 countries in the world regulating courier services from 240. Other countries are not regulating through the communication authority,” he said.

Meanwhile Nampost chief executive officer, Festus Hangula said they would make known of their feelings on the proposals in a written form at a later stage.

Speaking to The Villager, VP and Head of legal affairs for DHL, Brett Hattaway said his concern is that regulation should be solely and firmly grounded in the 2009 law.  

“I think more important than that is the impact it will have on Namibia and is Namibia pushing towards deregulation and competition or is it pushing towards regulation that may not or may also be needed.”

“So it’s just my desire that CRAN push with the best interest of country and the industry in mind. I have no issue with regulation but it should be grounded in law. It’s not regulation per se that any one has an objection to, it’s over-regulation,” he said in an exclusive interview at the sideline of the event.

CRAN CEO, Festus Mbandeka also agreed with Hattaway on the issue of over-regulation but indicated that in terms of the Communication Act, they are mandated to regulate postal services.

“So we are empowered to make regulation and to identify those services that we can regulate. It is within that context that we are doing this process and it’s not just a process that we are doing on our own,” he said.

He added that theirs is an effort to bring about a “light-touch regulation” without imposing themselves too hard against operators.

 As some are beginning to smell a rat and suspecting that the regulatory authority is looking to increasing its revenue, the final draft to the proposals is yet to be tabled.