Sat, 29 Apr 2000

Alinafiah: Pos Indonesia ready to end monopoly, face competition

JAKARTA (JP): State-owned PT Pos Indonesia says it is ready to let go of its monopoly rights to deliver personal letters, postcards, and aerograms and face competition, including from courier companies.

"PT Pos did not want the monopoly in the first place, it was the government's decision," Pos president Alinafiah said on the sidelines of a meeting of the Asperindo, the Indonesian association of courier companies, on Friday.

"Our job as an operator is to provide the best service to the people," he said. "We return the matter back to the government as regulator. Do the people still need protection in the form of monopoly?"

Pos Indonesia's monopoly has been justified on grounds of public interest to provide a mail system that ensures confidentiality, affordability, and accessibility throughout the country.

One of the most profitable state enterprises, Pos Indonesia's long held monopoly was strengthened by a 1984 government edict.

The edict also stated that private courier companies could deliver other forms of mail like printed matter and small packets.

Alinafiah said Pos Indonesia would benefit professionally from the competition once its monopoly rights were revoked.

"With stiffer competition, our company would be challenged to perform better and to improve our service," he said.

Pos Indonesia reaped a Rp 1.04 trillion ($130 million) profit in 1999 and expects to gain some Rp 1.4 trillion this year, Alinafiah said.

"Last year was a good year because we received substantial earnings from ballot mail during the general elections," he said. He did not explain the reason for his optimistic 40 percent profit increase this year.

Pos Indonesia and Asperindo in December submitted a joint proposal to the government on reforming the mail industry, including allowing greater competition from private companies.

Asperindo chairman Rudy J. Pesik welcomed Pos Indonesia's offer to relinquish its monopoly.

He said Asperindo and Pos Indonesia have disputed the definition of "documents", which make up the bulk of the business for the courier companies.

Pos Indonesia has insisted that all documents are "mail" and therefore come under its monopoly.

"If the edict were revoked, there would be no more dispute about the definition," Rudy said. "Asperindo members have no wish to deliver private mail, we only deliver documents."

He defined "documents" as correspondence from business to business, while private mail comprises correspondence between individuals.

Pos Indonesia also expressed its commitment to support Asperindo in facing global competition.

"Local resources have to be combined, including resources from the private sector," Alinafiah said.

Rudy said the courier companies could forge cooperation with Pos Indonesia in various areas, from buying idle space on Pos' mail trucks, facilitating Pos' post offices in remote areas, to joint upgrading of human resources, and sharing technology.

He said individual companies have already started cooperation with Pos Indonesia.

Asperindo has some 530 company members throughout Indonesia, including PT Birotika Semesta/DHL, and PT Cardig Express Nusantara (CEN). (10)