Licensed courier operators say they are optimistic that their businesses will grow following a Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) campaign to root out illegal courier operators.
In an interview on Wednesday, DHL Malawi managing director Victor Sitima said their business is affected by unlicensed courier operators.
He said: “For the registered courier companies, there are some protocols that we are supposed to follow.
“There are also licence fees that we pay to Macra. For us as an international courier company, we pay 1.5 percent of our revenue as well as $15 000 [about K13 million] annual fees to Macra.”
Sitima said in contrast a company that operates illegally does not need to pay licence fees as they only charge what satisfies their processes.
“There is also an aspect of compliance whereby an illegal operator can send contraband,” he said.
Speed Courier sales and marketing officer for North, Newman Munthali, said rooting out unlicensed courier operators can help them to boost their businesses.
He said lately, many people send their parcels with bus and minibus operators and other private vehicles.
In an interview, Macra communications manager Zadziko Mankhambo acknowledged that illegal courier business is a huge problem.
He said: “There are so many companies, minibuses and vehicles which are carrying parcels from one place to another without licences.
“This is illegal in line with Section 122 of the Communications Act, which says that anyone doing this must have a licence from Macra or risk paying a penalty.”
Mankhambo said they want to ensure that everyone is aware before they act on illegal courier operators.
He said by using illegal couriers, consumers are not protected because if the parcels go missing, they have nowhere to report.
Lilongwe Police Station spokesperson Hastings Chigaru said it is good that Macra is creating awareness on this issue, observing that those who will continue with the practice will not be caught unawares if the police catch them.
He said police get complaints every day from people who sent parcels which never reached the intended destinations or were delayed.
Chigaru said police will use their ongoing regular checks at roadblocks to flush out those flouting the law.
Macra regulates licensed postal and courier operators.
On April 12, Macra issued a warning to unlicensed operators, warning them that providing such services or conveying courier articles without a valid licence contravenes Section 122 of the Communications Act.
Operators contravening the law can be fined K1 million or two years imprisonment.