Courier operators without licence to face prosecution

Courier Service delivery via motorbikes have become popular due to increase in e-commerce transactions

Operators of Courier Services who have failed to acquire licences from the Postal and Courier Services Regulatory Commission (PCSRC) have been warned to do so immediately, or soon face prosecution.

Under Section 10 of the Postal and Courier Services Regulatory Commission Act 649, offenders are liable to a fine of GH¢6,000 or face a 3-year prison term.

The commission has, so far, licenced about 130 companies that are doing what it considers to be legitimate business.

Its CEO, Isaac A. Riverson, however told the B&FT that: “There are many more that are not registered by us. Therefore, some three or four years ago we adopted an approach to encourage those already in the system without a licence to come to the Commission on their own so we could regularise their operations.

“For those that haven’t started operating yet, we also laid out the procedures and mechanisms for acquiring a valid licence to operate as a courier or postal service provider in the country.”

He added that, unfortunately, very few have responded to the call – and as such the Commission may be forced to crack the whip soon.

“We have been in collaboration with the Ghana Police Service. So, once in a while we organise a swoop wherein we randomly pick up those that are operating without our licence. Those that listen to us come and regularise their operations. And for those that do not, definitely the force of law will soon be used so they can be prosecuted in court,” he warned.

The advent and proliferation of online businesses (e-commerce) has led to an explosion of courier services, particularly the use of motorbikes to deliver goods purchased via online platforms. This has added to the Commission’s headache in regulating the sector.

Isaac A. Riverson said, so far, the Commission has not prosecuted anyone yet – but may soon be forced to take that approach.

The Commission recently published a list of 76 unregistered courier and delivery service companies which have been in operation without a licence for almost 4 years.

The estimated loss in revenue to the state in licence fees amounts to a minimum of about GH¢190,000 annually, or close to GH¢800,000 in total for their period of operation.

Director for Licencing and Operations at the Commission, Mr. John Otuteye, emphasised the need for businesses in the sector to obey the law and fulfil their legal obligation.

He said, “Section 10 of Act 649 states that you cannot operate a courier or postal service in Ghana without a licence issued by the Commission, and that is the campaign we have embarked upon this year.

“We are appealing for them to come and register their operations before we start coming down on them.”

He explained that the procedure for licence-application is straightforward without any bureaucracies, and can typically be completed in as little as 7 days.

“To obtain a licence from the Commission is very simple. All you have to do is register a business organisation, whether a sole proprietorship or partnership or a limited liability company. Then you write a letter of application on the letterhead of your company to the Commission, applying for a Courier Operating Licence together with all required documents,” he said.

The Postal and Courier Services Regulatory Commission (PCSRC), under the Ministry of Communications, is the legally mandated government institution that regulates the postal and courier services sector to ensure that companies operating within the space meet standards and requirements before commencing business.

The Commission ensures companies acquire adequate insurance covers for their business, and that their workers are duly registered for Social Security.

The Commission plans to roll out verification stickers in the coming months to help the public distinguish between registered and unregistered courier operators.

Kennedy Aryeetey Tetteh | | Ghana

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