Sri Lanka postal services during the pandemic, has come to a near standstill although post offices and sub-post offices countrywide have been reopened for limited services including elders’ payments, and distribution of medicines, officials said.
This has resulted in a loss of income of between Rs. 1 to 2 billion for the year ending March 31, 2021, according to Treasury data.
Normally the Postal Department incurs an annual loss of around Rs. 6 billion while its revenue is around Rs. 8 billion from total operational cost (income and expenditure) of Rs. 14 billion while the latest figures would show an increase from the Rs. 6 billion-annual loss. The Treasury provides funds to the department to take care of the loss.
A large backlog of letters and parcels had to be cleared at the Central Mail Exchange as sorting out of such items has not been fully operational at present due to the curtailment of staff in the department following the COVID-19 third wave.
The current measures of travel restrictions till June 14 will continue to impact delivery standards for letter-post, parcel-post and Express Mail Service (EMS) items. The Department of Posts is not able to guarantee that it will meet the agreed standards, said Post Master General (PMG) Ranjith Ariyaratne.
Further deployment of officers and other employees has become a difficult task as several of them including who are travelling outstations have to undergo quarantine, he disclosed.
He said that maximum efforts will be taken to restore normalcy to prevent the delay in the letters delivery as soon as the lifting of current restrictions.
The Treasury has already informed the department to prune the expenditure, enhance new technologies and services to transform it to a profit making venture a senior Treasury official said.