Minister of Information and Civic Education Patricia Kaliati on Tuesday asked mobile phone network operators and radio stations to wake up or risk losing their licences if they continue providing mediocre services.
The minister issued the warning after visiting Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) head office in Blantyre where she also toured the spectrum monitoring van and the controversial Consolidated Information and Communications Technology Regulatory Management System (Cirms).
Kaliati said government was monitoring licences of service providers after they were given a period on quality assurance according to what their licences entails.
“If they are not going to abide by what the Malawi Government is looking for, then there are a number of people who are looking for these licences, we might give them because what we want is people out there have to get the benefit from the same services as they travel outside Malawi,” she warned.
Kaliati also asked the service providers to stop taking advantage of the levels of illiteracy of Malawians by “lying to them that their phone conversations would be listened to” once Cirms, commonly referred to as spy machine, becomes operational.
On his part, Macra director general Godfrey Itaye said currently there was nothing on the ground in terms of Cirms as they are waiting for a court decision.
He said: “Options in terms of delaying this machine are almost running out. We fully believe that once the court rules in our favour this machine should be up and running.”
Itaye said Macra’s operations were seriously affected due to lack of the machine as there is no other mechanism to use to come up with true status of affairs in terms of service provision.
Since its introduction about six years ago, Cirms has faced resistance from operators who have branded it “spy machine”.
The machine is expected to generate more than K1 billion (about $1.4million) in annual revenue but all these years this money has gone down the drain because one of the operators, Telekom Networks Malawi (TNM), took the matter to court stopping Macra from implanting it. n