Another long catalogue of waste - Post offices

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 April, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 April, 2010, 12:00am

The Director of Audit has called for the closure of some post offices after it found 97 of the 125 post offices are making a loss.

The director also urged Hongkong Post to set up a system to detect and deter underpayment of postage, since the commission found nearly 40 per cent of 1,299 mail items in a random check in January had been underpaid.

In a report, the Audit Commission pointed out that in the 2008-09 financial year, 97 post offices made a loss ranging from HK$13,000 to HK$6.8 million for a combined HK$117.2 million.

The report advised Hongkong Post to evaluate the demand for services at individual post offices and said it should explore the feasibility of closing some branches.

The January check revealed that in some cases the underpaid postage was as high as 37.7 per cent of the correct amount.

In order to prevent the loss of postage revenue, the audit said Hongkong Post should set up procedures to detect and deter underpaid mail and for the recovery of the correct postage and surcharges from the senders or the addressees.

The audit also found 6.9 per cent of the 49,565 post office boxes were vacant as at December 31 last year, which incurred a loss of HK$4.9 million in 2008-09.

It recommended that the postmaster general take more measures to reduce the losses suffered by the post office box service either by boosting their letting or by removing the vacant boxes.