Parliament Sitting on 3 April 2017
QUESTION FOR ORAL ANSWER
*12. Dr Chia Shi-Lu: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information (a) how will the Ministry ensure that SingPost improves its service quality; (b) what are the underlying causes for the numerous changes in its senior management team; and (c) whether the Ministry will consider de-privatising this essential public service.
Madam Speaker, SingPost operates a diverse business, offering domestic and international postal services, as well as logistics and e-commerce services. SingPost’s Basic Mail Services is subjected to one of the most stringent Quality of Service standards in the world – SingPost must deliver 99% of local basic letters destined for the Central Business District (CBD), and 98% for those destined for non-CBD areas, by the next working day. Since 2014, SingPost has invested in new machines and enhanced its staff training programme to improve mail sorting and delivery of letters. SingPost has also engaged an independent third party auditor to conduct regular audits on its service and standards. As a result of these measures, the incidents of feedback received by SingPost concerning mis-deliveries of local basic letters have dropped from 279 in 2013 to 50 in 2016.
2 The Member also asked about the changes to SingPost’s senior management team. Madam Speaker, as a publicly listed company, SingPost is responsible for putting together the best management team it needs to deliver on its commercial mission. IMDA, as the regulator, focuses on ensuring that SingPost fulfils its obligations as a Public Postal Licensee with regard to meeting the postal needs of the public.
3 The Member also asked whether my Ministry will consider de-privatising public postal services. Madam Speaker, Singapore fully liberalised the postal market in 2007 to build an open economy, strengthen Singapore’s position as a business hub, and catalyse growth. Regulatory frameworks such as the postal QoS ensure that the public postal system remains good and reliable. Today, four companies, including SingPost, have been licensed to deliver letters in Singapore. Our postal rates continue to be among the lowest among economies such as US, Hong Kong and Norway. For parcel delivery, which does not require a license from IMDA, it is fully open and competitive, and many local and international players provide services in Singapore today. As such, SingPost has every commercial incentive to improve its services. The rationale behind our decision to liberalise the postal market still remains relevant today, and we have no reason to believe that de-privatisation will necessarily result in better outcomes and service quality for the postal sector in general.
4 Madam Speaker, I assure the House that IMDA will continue to safeguard consumer interests, and ensure that SingPost provides reliable and quality postal services for Singapore.