Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) says it will soon enforce laws restricting the importation of substandard information communication and technology (ICT) gadgets to protect consumers from unfair trade deals.
Macra acting director of legal services Dan Chiwoni said this in Lilongwe yesterday during a workshop.
He said Malawians are among many African States that are still using substandard ICT gadgets and that many gadgets currently in use in the country are not certified both locally and internationally as they are substandard or counterfeit products.
Malawi is currently using the Fourth Generation (4G) technology which requires high-quality ICT devices in the communications set-up.
Chiwoni said: “The surge in the technological advancement has also come with challenges, one of them being the production of substandard and counterfeit telecommunication equipment and gadgets.
“The authority observed that a lot of the electronic equipment in use is not up to the local and international standards and, therefore, not certified for use in this country. This substandard equipment poses a threat to both the health and safety of ICT consumers as well the environment.”
He stated that Macra’s decision is in line with Sections 6 (2), 95 and 96 of the 2016 Communications Act, which mandates the regulatory body to ‘type approve’ electronic equipment for use in the Republic of Malawi as one measure for improvement of quality ICT services.
In her remarks, International Telecommunications Union (ITU) area representative for southern Africa Chali Tumelo said the restriction in the importation of the ICT gadgets is in line with the international protocols such as the World Telecommunication Development Conference that was held in Buenos Aires in 2017 under the theme of ICT for Sustainable Development Goals.
She said: “Increased participation of developing countries in ITU activities to bridge the standardisation gap is needed to ensure that they experience the economic benefits associated with technological development, and to better reflect the requirements and interests of developing countries in this area.” Tumelo commended Macra for making the declaration, saying the communications regulatory body’s approach to seek technical assistance is timely.