Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) says it is committed to balancing the interests of investors in the telecommunications industry and those of consumers to strike a win-win scenario.
Speaking in an interview on the sidelines of a cocktail party the regulator organised for media managers in Blantyre on Friday, Macra director general Daud Suleman said while as a regulator they want subscribers to get quality services, they are also mindful of ensuring that investors have confidence and feel satisfied.
He said: “As Macra, we come in through the Communications Act of 2016 to create a balance so that subscribers, who are citizens of Malawi, who are owners of this thing called spectrum, enjoy it at the right price.
“At the same time, our investors that are coming in to build this industry to create jobs, to create space where government is getting taxes also need to do that while knowing that their investments are well secured.”
Suleman said as the world is moving towards a digital economy, it would be imperative to have a balance at the end of the line where everybody wins and feels satisfied.
He said it is against such a background that Macra is striving to ensure that different needs of different players are met and continues to engage multiple stakeholders on reducing prices of data in the country.
While stressing that there cannot be a specific deadline on the actual drop said the engagements are a continuous process which will in the long run culminate in a bigger drop.in data prices, Suleman
“We are also engaging operators to see what challenges they are facing and also government to see if it is necessary to review certain taxes. But in the next two years, data will be dropping,” said Suleman.
Minister of Information Gospel Kazako is on record as having agreed that data tariffs are too high for a developing nation such as Malawi.
In July this year, some civil society organisations asked government to push for a reduction in cost of ICT services, especially the Internet, following a suspension of physical meetings amid Covid-19.
Currently, mobile operators are charged 17.5 percent value added tax (VAT) on mobile phones and services while 16.5 percent is charged on Internet services. On Saturday, Kazako met management of Macra and Internet service providers in the country in Mangochi to discuss issues of data. The market players have since formed a task force to work on processes towards reducing data costs.