Govt U-turns Macra’s annual simcard subscription fee

The Tonse Alliance administration has distanced itself from a decision by the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) on its plans to introduce annual subscription fees for all phone numbers in the country. 

Minister of Information Gospel Kazako made the remarks in Parliament on Friday after being questioned by Kasungu North legislator Mike Bango who wanted to seek clarification from the Minister on the viability of the development.

But according to Kazako, the annual subscription fees decision on all phone numbers was made by the previous Macra Board and that the current Board will not pass the decision.

“That decision was not made by this current board, you are aware that Macra is run by a board, it is a board that gives advice to the Management and what Macra was doing is to continue the process on the premise of what the Board had decided that time.

“The Board that was appointed by the Tonse Alliance government has not received this and we do not think that it is going to pass as this Board is well informed Board and we wouldn’t do things to the contrary,” said Kazako.

Much as he commended the Minister`s response over the matter, Bango asked government to work with telecommunications service providers on reducing data and services cost.

“You after we got that news we as lawmakers we were all disappointed even Malawians outside Parliament talked bad about the new fee that they are trying to bring on, now we are happy that the Minister has responded and we are going to see the way forward.

“These companies [telecommunications] in Malawi they make a lot of profit and we have been charged quite a lot so as parliament we want to see that something is changing we want to enjoy as customers,” said Bango.

According to the Communications Act (2016) on Section 87 as read with section 89 (5), Macra has powers to regulate all electronic communication numbering resource and ensure efficient and effective use in the country.

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