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Legal concept of public service in the postal sector

The concept of public service is related to the establishment of the State as a sovereign authority and its increased involvement to satisfy the general needs of society through varied activities and functions in the socioeconomic field to improve the wellbeing of society and achieve, as such, the economic development.

Public service is closely related to the general interest that requires being in line with the general needs evolution. It is, hence, subject to an activity aiming at achieving a public interest at the expense of the State via social and economic institutions or involvement in the public administration.

Public service stems its legitimacy from the following principles:

1-Principle of equality:

All citizens have the right to the public service without distinction or discrimination.

 2-Principle of continuity and durability:

The public service, relating to individuals’ constant need is characterized by its continuous and durable nature, which requires from the State to draw up plans likely to ensure its continuity even in case of force majeure or exceptional circumstances.

3-Principle of evolution :

The public service must be in tune with the various modern technologies. Our ministry as well as the companies of the sector, in general, aspire to provide modern services to facilitate tasks for citizens who should make, in return, a symbolic contribution to these services’ costs. This corresponds, for instance, to the issue recently raised about the citizens’ contribution request to order EDAHABIA card as a subscription for a two-year period to benefit from this modern service. These data are mentioned on Algerie Poste’s website among the conditions for acquiring this card which is of a great interest: no movement, time saving, fast transactions and receivables payment, funds withdrawal and transfer via electronic payment and other services the citizen can carry out at home. All these services are offered to citizens for a little contribution considered as symbolic and minimal compared to many advantages these services offer.

4 - Relative Gratuitousness :

It is about the actions to which citizens contribute with the public treasury in return for the public services they benefit from.

5-Universality and efficiency :

The public service must be universal, accessible to everyone, efficient and enabling everyone to reach positive goals.

6- Adabtability and flexibility:

The public service must be adaptable according to circumstances and needs. The public interest evolves over time. Companies, too, have to be in tune with the new changes and evolution of social demand.

  • Types of public services:

1-Administrative services:

It is about services provided to citizens concerning administrative structures.

2-Compulsory services:

It is about services related to education, teaching, health, public safety, ….etc.

3-Services related to vital needs:

It is about services of supply of water, electricity, sanitation, fuel distribution,…etc.

Some of these services are provided for free while others are not.

The services provided by public authorities such as public lighting, public safety, education and teaching are for free. The citizen is not meant to pay any fees in return.

The paid services concern telephony, domestic lighting, drinking water supply services, etc.

As for the subsidized services, the citizen shall pay a part and the other one is chargeable to the public treasury, such as housing, consumer goods, etc.

Based on the aforementioned, in general, considering the technological evolution and its strategic nature to optimize the public service, bringing administration closer to citizens and being released from traditional administration, the electronic administration offers many opportunities of success, clarity, accuracy and promptness via its services of transactions and improvement of quality and service form, because investment in the ICTs leads automatically to cost reduction and implementation acceleration. This is the objective pursued by Algerie Poste company by virtue of the provisions of the law 2000-03 governing the general rules of postal and telecommunications sector.

Algerie Poste company was set up pursuant to the executive decree n°43-02 as a public institution of an industrial and commercial nature. It is responsible for the main task of providing public service based on two mainlines and at the lowest cost throughout the national territory. These services consist in:

  • The services of post, postal parcels, express courier and philately.
  • Postal financial services of all kinds.

According to the law, it is established for these services symbolic taxes the beneficiary has to pay in exchange of the provision of these services in all post offices. The latter’s number has reached nearly 3800 offices and over 20 million postal current accounts and a workforce exceeding 24000 workers.

All these services are provided permanently and continuously for all citizens nationwide.

The law 18-04 defining the general rules relating to the postal sector and electronic communications, it also stipulates the provision of quality services in objective, transparent and non-discriminatory conditions in a competitive climate while ensuring general interest.

Its article 7 stipulates that the content and quality of the universal service of postal sector and electronic communications, their applicable costs and funding methods are published on October 9th, 2018.

A regulatory Authority for Posts and electronic Communications has been created by virtue of this law in its article 11. An independent regulatory authority is set up with legal personality and financial autonomy. It is subject to the financial supervision of the State. Its missions are defined pursuant to the texts of this law. This regulatory authority is consulted by the minister in charge of posts and electronic communications in order to decide upon all issues linked with posts and electronic communications.

 

Many decrees concerning the management, organization and definition of content and quality of the universal service of electronic communications, their applicable costs and potential funding method both by the State and operators’ contribution, are included in the executive decrees n° 18-246 et 18-247 of October 9th, 2018. .

Article 2 of the aforementioned decree n°18-246 stipulates that the minister in charge of posts and electronic communications sets the main goals in terms of development of the universal service of posts and electronic communications as part of the sectoral policy and pursuant to the national plan of land planning.

Article 3 of this decree also stipulates that the objectives of the universal service of posts must contribute, in accordance with Article 7 of the law 18-04, to:

  • Sustainability of postal activity;
  • Universality of postal service;
  • Continuity of public service;
  • Setting the fees at affordable rates.

Article 7 of this law deals thoroughly with posts activities.

As such, we notice that the universal service provided by the postal sector is a subsidized service and not free, and that the amount paid by the client only represents a minimum rate as a contribution to the costs incurred by this service. Added to this the fact that “Algérie Poste” cannot, under any circumstances, stop providing public service according to the legislations and regulations in force in a permanent and continuous context at reasonable prices.