Stats: Special Covers by Philatelic Bureau 2016-2023

There has been a significant increase in the number of Special Commemorative Covers that are issued by the Philatelic Bureau, Department of Posts, Sri Lanka.

The graph shows numbers of the Special Covers issued monthly in each year from 2016 to 2023.

There has been a lot of negative sentiments regarding the increase of these Special Covers being released. But, can it be stopped or should it be stopped?

Firstly, in order to issue a Special Cover, a contract needs to be placed with following conditions

  • Royalty of Rs 100,000 needs to be paid
  • 750 covers (excluding folders) needs to be given to bureau
  • Minimum 1000 personalised stamps (at Rs 100 each) need to be purchased.
  • Minimum 1750 needs to be printed, with 750 going to bureau as mentioned earlier.
  • Event needs to be organised.
  • A list of government dignitaries from a Ministry/Bureau needs to be invited (this list could go upto 20)

With 750 free covers received by the bureau, they are able to sell them at Rs 200 to the collectors.

Revenue for bureau = Rs 100,000 + Rs 150,000 + Rs 100,000 = Rs 350,000

It has also been noticed that the bureau has taken upon themselves to print any of these Special Covers as they please once the free stock runs out. Sources inform that this print run would be an additional 1000 Special Covers.

Expenses for bureau

For each Special Cover release, the bureau

  • Sends the highest decision making staff (alone with few working staff) to each of these events
  • For outstation (out of Colombo) events, the human resources would need to be provided with transport, accommodation, refreshments (in different formats), paying OT (overtime salary).

This would mean that while these are happening, the Bureau is not in a position to make any decision until they return to office. This could result in inefficiency at the Bureau and stall projects/assignments.

Estimated revenue lost due to expenses and time of staff = Rs 500,000*.

So overall, the bureau would stand to lose roughly Rs 150,000* from this venture.

What are the alternatives?

In order to cut down on the expenses and make it a profitable venture, the events need not be attended by the higher level staff. The event should be organised with the relevant Post Office in the relevant area. This would result in cutting down expenses as well as ensure that the bureau staff remain in office. The Post Office in each area would also be able to get involved in Philately, not just Post.

* – Numbers are a guess estimation and could be different.


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