The Malawi Government has introduced a new charging regime for international incoming calls by imposing a minimum rate of 20 cents (K90, at the current exchange rate) per minute for all international income voice traffic into Malawi.
This is contained in the Malawi Gazette supplement dated January 10 2014 and the amended Act is the Communications (Telecommunications Charges) (Amendment) Regulations, 2014.
According to the gazette seen by Business News, out of the 20 cents per minute revenue collected, telecommunication operators will be getting 12 cents [K54] while eight cents [K36] will be remitted to government.
Minister of Information and Civic Education Brown Mpinganjira, in consultation with the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra), made the changes in the Communications Act chapter 68.
In a letter addressed to all the telecommunication operators in Malawi, the director general of Macra Charles Nsaliwa said the imposition of the charge follows consultations the authority had with all operators in July 2013 on the issue.
“As you are aware, all licences are subject to the Act and any Regulations made thereunder and as such compliance is mandatory,” he said.
Macra yesterday called for a meeting of the operators at their office to discuss the implementation of the international incoming call minimum rate.
Telecommunication experts yesterday feared this rate will make Malawi one of the expensive countries to make calls to in the region and also that this is one of government’s ploy to raise revenue to patch up holes in the budget.
But Mpinganjira told Business News yesterday that all the other countries in the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) region and beyond have that charge.
He disputed the assertions that the rate is exorbitant, saying: “We want to bring our [charging] regime in line with other authorities.”
Mpinganjira, who argued that the rate is not outside that of the region, said the new charging regime will not discourage income callers.
Malawi is regarded as one of the countries where making calls is rather expensive.