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MENAFN - Arab News - 09/02/2013

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Dr. Mohammed Saleh Bin Taher Benten, president of the Saudi Post Corporation, speaking to Arab News.
(MENAFN - Arab News) Saudi Arabia needs to adopt the postal money remittance system, especially since the Kingdom occupies second place globally in the value of remittances. The value of those remittances exceeded 32 billion in 2012, according to Saudi Post President Mohamed Saleh Bin Taher Binten.

In an exclusive interview with Diana Al-Jassem of Arab News, Binten said the Saudi Post plans to shift in to a holding companies and move its related sectors to a commercial companies. According to Binten, Saudi Post is now looking to cooperate with private sector companies where reports confirmed that postal market services would contribute to SR 20 billion to the GDP.

Saudi Post shift to a holding company within the coming few months. What kind of subsidiaries will be working under the Saudi Post Holding Company, and what are the services that they will present?

The Board of Directors of Saudi Postal Corporation had recently adjusted a new strategy to transform the institution into a holding company. This shift will be following by a new movement to related-sectors to Saudi Post in to commercial companies. Such a shift will encourage the private sectors companies to enter a partner of the holding company.

Actually, since many years ago Saudi Post began the practical steps to convert its related sectors to profitable business companies. We already succeed to have a logistics partnership with the private sector where we launched NAQEL.

Naqel is providing several logistics services among the Kingdom's regions where it has been contracted with a large number of clients. The current step that to be taken soon is to shift NAQEL from a private company to a joint stock company.

We are currently working to transform the postal sector to business sectors followed by the rest of the sectors to be shifted too.

What is the budget the Saudi Post Holding, and what is the expected revenue in the first few years?

It is too early to talk about the financial position of a company where we are currently working on the establishment process and the completion of economic studies as well as strategic plans. We want to make sure of the financial readiness for compatibility with the requirements of commercial operation.

Saudi Post is presenting several governmental electronic services like Adahi, Sadad, issuing and renewing license as well as e-mails for governmental organizations. How could you describe the demands and supply on electronic services?

I would like to acknowledge the commitment of the Saudi Government toward activating the e-government system where they start up the establishment of e-government program.

Of course, the success of e-government depends entirely on the presence of a strong postal network that plays the role of a mediator between the government services providers and demanders. We are cooperating with several governmental partners like Saudi Credit and Savings Bank, Real Estate Development Fund, Traffic departments, General Authority for Investment, as well as in partnership with universities.

Now the Ministry of Labor finally joined the Saudi Post aiming to offer e-services, and we expect in the near future further governmental companies to join. In fact, the demands was great and remarkable from all citizens and residents to benefit of our e-services where Saudi Post provided its services to more than 150,000 individuals via the Murih program. We also provided service for more than 230,000 students enrolled in university study this year.

New government departments like passport office, and civil affairs will join the Saudi post very soon.

Could you tell us about the tough competition that Saudi Post is facing especially when there are several companies that present similar electronic and non-electronic services like DHL and banks.

Saudi market is an open competitive market in all areas of investment, including, of course, the field of postal and financial services in in addition to other business areas and activities.

We believe that Saudi Post has competitive advantages as its dominate the most important networks through its office that are located in all cities and villages of the Kingdom.

We believe that the only challenge that we are facing currently is the regulation of postal market logistic service. According to our estimates report the postal market services would contribute to SR 20 billion to the GDB.

Unfortunately, the size of the actual market does not exceed SR 7 billion annually due to the unlicensed transport services. Such unlicensed transport services weaken the investment opportunities in the Saudi market.

We expect the new postal system, which almost would be adjusted by Saudi government soon, to ensure fair competition and encouraging all postal services across the Kingdom.

Do you think that Saudi Arabia succeeded to transfer its paper services system in to an electronic services system, or they still need more effort to adopt the new technology?

I can assure with full confidence that Saudi Post has achieved a very big success in the "automation" of its administrative and technical operations, and we look forward to reducing paper transactions to a minimum rate in the required matters.

What kind of contracts and projects does Saudi Post Holding will sign to develop electronic projects, and what are the companies that Saudi Post is cooperating with?

I won't talk about further contracts and projects, but I will elaborate talking about our strategic partnerships with international companies such as Microsoft and Cisco Systems in the areas of technical and information systems, as well as Google to take advantage of the addressing system that was developed by the company in-geographic systems.

We will continue to work with these companies and others to ensure the continued development and modernization of information systems and electronic systems, in addition to ensuring the implementation of any joint ventures.

Do you think that Saudi infrastructure is ready to help is boosting electronic system rather than paper system?

We are proud of the Saudi Postal system as we are also proud of the development that Saudi Arabia achieved in the areas of IT and technical operations. The success and sustainable development in terms of Saudi IT system have been used in various operating segments, through the introduction of software modern solutions to facilities business.

Saudi Post recently announced the launching of new service that allow money transition globally, and another service to do local money transition. Tell us more details about this system and the agreements you signed in this regard.

We are currently working in partnership with some of the specialized financial agencies in the private sector to provide money transfer services, on the basis of our commitment to strong partnerships with the private sector for the provision of financial services in the Saudi market.

However, we believe that Saudi Postal Corporation enjoys a competitive advantage to help us success in providing financial services to customers in the Kingdom. We are part of a wide expanding financial mailing network that offer services worldwide covering all urban and rural areas in the membered countries.

According to the decision of ministers council and according to international agreement approved by Universal Postal Union, we can proceed money transition process to more than 75 countries where large number of expatriate workers in Saudi Arabia are transferring their money to these countries.

A recent study of the Universal Postal Union revealed the presence of 660,000 postal center in the world, which means that postal branches ranked the second position to contribute to the provision of financial services to all social groups in all countries of the world.

At the same time, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of the largest exporters of remittances in the world, occupies second place globally in the value of remittances sent, which exceeded 32 billion in 2012, and most of these remittances sent by workers residing in the Kingdom, which count for more than eight million people.

What are the steps followed by Saudi Post to protect the user from any fraud especially in terms of electronic money transition, and E-commerce?

We are committed to the rules and regulations adopted by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) in the provision of financial services. We believe that these regulations are trustworthy enough to ensure the safety and quality of financial operations.

We can successfully control the power of used electronic systems. We are cooperating with our partners and different governmental bodies to ensure the protection systems applied in offices.

In regards the protection of the e-commerce, we have adopted the best protection electronic systems needed to address hacking attempts that our established electronic market (e-mall) could expose to.

Saudi Post earlier this month announced its further cooperation with Labor Ministry in order to develop e-services that help both Saudis and expats to conduct their papers. What is the aim of launching this service and how it will facilitate procedures especially for expats.

We signed an agreement with the Ministry of Labor for having a strategic partnership to promote the e-government services.

The services that we offer including both Saudis and expats which like are the following: issuance and renewal of work permits, shift services of foreign workers (both public and professionals that require certificates professions), and open a file for a worker institution, in addition to recruitment facilities, recruitment of individuals as a first stage.

Our services also include updated the data of companies that are registered in the Ministry of Labor. Furthermore, we look forward to include all Labor Ministry service in the future delivery of documents to the beneficiaries of residence via postal services.

You recently spoke about further cooperation to rehabilitate international companies to develop post services, where the project revenue estimated at SR 600 billion per year. What was the project, and why it had been postponed or canceled?

The project set to serve qualified international companies to take over the management and operation offices across the Kingdom, achieving a return of SR 50 million in each month, which means SR 600 million a year.

Our plan was to own this project after three years of working, where we won't pay even one riyal.

Unfortunately, the project had been refused for several reasons, but we intend to move forward in the development of post offices within the framework of the strategy designed to convert these offices to service centers.

Is there any new move in Shoura council to obligate citizens to register their address in the Saudi post? What is the aim of this step?

Shoura Council has approved a new law to register the residence address in the postal company.

It is also confirmed that all customers of banks and telecommunications companies to update their information based on the provided information in the Saudi Post. The information includes: licensing, national identity card, record of the family and travel documents, and others.

The move is aimed to activate the use of the address provided by the citizens to facilitate actions in case of any incident that required emergency response.


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