Government has liberalised the importation and sale of Malawi digital broadcasting network television decoders to accord the opportunity to Malawians who wish to venture into the business to participate.
Currently, it is only the Malawi Digital Broadcasting Network Limited (MDBNL) that is charged with the responsibility of importing and selling the said decoders, otherwise known as set top boxes (STBs).
Digital migration coordinator in the Ministry of Information, Tourism and Civic Education, Gedion Munthali, disclosed this on Friday at Mzuzu Hotel during a meeting with the business community on the liberalisation of the sale and distribution of digital decoders.
Munthali said government has decided to open up the market so that anyone interested should take part in the importation and distribution of the STBs, thereby creating business opportunities for Malawians.
Munthali, who is also deputy director of information (civic Education), further asked members of the business fraternity who are willing to take part to express interest in writing to Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) for a licence to venture into the business.
Currently, Munthali said, the Ministry of Information is negotiating with the Ministry of Finance to waive duty on the importation of the STBs so that they can be sold at a cheaper price.
Also speaking to the business fraternity, Macra’s technical adviser on digital migration, Benson Tembo, said the communications regulatory body shall undertake the approval of each model of digital decoders to ensure that only those that conform to specifications are allowed on the market.
So far, 13 000 digital decoders have been sold across the country through MDBNL and post offices. The MDBNL digital decoder bouquet has 16 channels which include a promotion channel, MBC, Angaliba ATV, Beta, CAN, CFC, Luso and Luntha, just to mention some.