Macra milking Malawi phone operators: TNM pays K15bn, to hike tarrifs

Government and its agents are milking telecommunication operators through fees and levies, and one of the leading mobile telecoms operators TNM has come in the open to reveal that its cost of levies, fees and taxes was K15 billion for 2014.

Swart: •Will hike rates in line with market needs

Swart: • Will hike rates in line with market needs

In a statement accompanying TNM’s 2014 financial results, Managing Director Willem Swart revealed that the cost of the company’s contribution to government directly and indirectly through MACRA was K15 billion.

“This cost of doing business, is one of the highest in the industry in Africa and substantially contributes to the high cost of our operations,” said Swart, who is also Chairman of the Association of Telecom Operators (ATOL).

He said out of an audited turnover of K40 billion, TNM’s returned net profit after tax is K5.2 billion which is disproportionate to the K15 billion fees to MACRA and government.

Swart said while TNM is committed to the economic development of Malawi, the tel-co is worried about its future profitability and sustainability because of the high cost of doing business prevailing.

“The profits of our company directly come from our subscribers and we therefore have the responsibility to use these funds in the most effective way possible, which will support the future growth of the company and the economy,” he said.

He said TNM as one of the major corporate citizens in the country has the duty to support activities which will develop the ICT industry for the long term benefit of the people of Malawi, but also “to oppose any actions which would destruct value and the ability of the company to invest on a sustainable basis in infrastructure for the future.”

Recently, due to the high cost of regulatory obligations, TNM hiked its call tariffs by 14 percent—well below inflation—but to the company’s chagrin, MACRA decreed against the hike citing the outdated Communications Act of 1998.

The situation raised concern in the broader telecoms industry. It also came after a study commissioned by MACRA reported that Malawi had one of the highest call tariffs in the world—suggestions which TNM trashes as inaccurate.

Swart said Malawi’s monthly Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) for 2014 was K 1,451 (U$ 3.2) and not K5,441 (U$ 12) as was reported in the media. He said at US$3.2, Malawi’s ARPU and represents one of the lowest ARPU’s in Africa.

To justify that TNM offers low tariffs, Swart said the company sold over 642 million minutes on its network in 2014 at a price below K20 per minute.

He said the market for telecommunications in Malawi is small and does not support extravagant investment in infrastructure if any operator has to pay returns to shareholders and repay loans at high interest rates.

“[In comparison], Nigeria has achieved 183 million subscribers this month and in Malawi we now have approximately 5 to 6 million active subscribers. A small market can only support smaller operators and networks, and the need for development and affordability must always be balanced. It is therefore important for us to use the revenue we receive from our customers, in the most effective way possible,” he said.

Swart said in view of high inflation and interest rates, TNM would in the near future increase and implement tariff increases to secure sustainability of the business.

“Malawian businesses are operating in a high inflation environment and must adjust prices on a regular basis to maintain the profitability of the operations. This increase will be much lower than the level of inflation as experienced during the past 12 months. The lower than inflation increase, is made possible through our dedication to efficiency and cost control as a company,” he said.

The telecoms chief said TNM supports all the projects by government to improve the lives of the people of Malawi and is proud of its contributions.

“TNM however prays that all these funds will be governed effectively and the funds will be spent on projects that make the lives of ordinary Malawians better,” he said.

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72 thoughts on “Macra milking Malawi phone operators: TNM pays K15bn, to hike tarrifs”

  1. prince says:

    Just close the company

  2. joseph says:

    Don’t get surprised Malawi is a child in a zero aid budget

  3. chefourpence says:

    so you don’t want to pay tax? Close shop and go! Need sympathy? Nada! Taxes and levvies aproportianate to your profitts!

  4. Paul ziga Tembo says:

    Musatipusise apa kafukufuku akusonyeza kuti Ku Malawi business ya za lamya yili pasogolo komanso tariff charge yanu ndi yodula kwambiri kusiyana mu mayiko enawa

  5. benard riviel says:

    Cannot be reached try again later

  6. TCHARLIE says:

    Kodi annual financial statement yao ija atulutsa kumene mmayesa profit yao akuti 105%

  7. phwado says:

    That’s why Macra employees have very fat salaries eti?Kuba too much

  8. chimutimunzeve says:

    And we hear this guy is gay and he is promoting his gay circle in Tnm, you can pack and go. You are busy stealing from us and at the same time promoting homosexual in our country

  9. titha says:

    A Malawi tiyeni tichangamuke. This is a total lie. TNM is seeking sympthathy from anunsuspecting illiterate public so that it should hike its rates. What MACRA here is charging is among the lowest in the region. Koma kuti azunguwa anazolowera kubera Malawi kwambiri. Anthu akenso nthawi zina amakhala ngati alowa libolonje ndikuthandiza okubawo

  10. zphiri says:

    it is good kuti akulankhula ndi mzungu, akanakhala munthu wakuda akanamutsekera ma opportunities onse … osapeza ntchito m’malawi, ana osalembedwa ntchito etc
    malawi is a villain of a nation!!!

  11. special advisor says:

    Both TNM and MACRA are villains. It doesn’t matter who between the two is better off. They’re both on the opposing end of the interest of a common Malawians. First the monies being mentioned are absenely too much. Secondly, this is a typical example of conspiracy against the poor. Sadly our government through its machinery are complicit. Finally, there is a grain of possibility that what we see are ripples resulting from undercurrents. TNM is trying to act smart and transparent to challenge her competitors and their allies. It is possible senior public servants are entangled into this.

  12. Yamikani says:

    All TNM is saying here is a huge lie. They are just afraid of the CIRMS. They are now at a corner and all their tricks will be exposed. CHIKAWONDA is behind this false report because he is a chief stealer. CIRMS will catch him paints down.
    Such irresponsible reporting by a so called CEO is unfortunate because his motive is to scare away the investors in Malawi. GO TO YOUR HOME IN Albania.
    If they find that business conditions are not conducive, let them pack up and go. No one is if forcing them to stay.
    Wait, your days are numbered as you are being closed down for stealing.

    Fotseke zanu aTNM

  13. Marcus says:

    TNM stop seeking sympathy from the public in fact what macra charges you is very little. you cant compare malawi with nigeria and yet you are lying about nigerias population. go to zimbabwe and findout how companies like yours pay just to get the licence. go to botswana and some other small populated countries in europe and learn how much profits they make. you are so stupid and you want to reap us….leave tht post for a malawian who can effectively run it.

  14. Geoma says:

    Honestly Govt is to blame, they get alot of money from macra just to fatten politicians pace? Ndalama za macra izi I don’t think zimayenda chilungamo izi…

  15. Talibo West says:

    Nde ntchito ya spy machine sikuonekatu apa

  16. Lobodo says:

    After tax profit for TNM equals value of MS Bank.

  17. Lobodo says:

    But do companies make such high turnovers in Malawi?? K40bn for TNM only, either obscene or Malawi is not a poor country. And seems Airtel is bigger than TNM by market share, they could be hitting in the region of K70bn turnover, eish!

  18. Chabecheker says:

    Macra should clarify allegations made against it

  19. Alufeyo chidaya says:

    Please think of us poor malawians was it not last week u declayed yur assets why do u impose such tax on a company ? Your zero defiect campain is really a pain in an ass but why?

  20. abiti says:

    Its high time parliament starts making MACRA accountable to malawians,. Paying more attention how it spends its money. Ordinary Malawians can benefit more from macra, can develop this country. May God punish those who cashgate at expense of the poor.

  21. chatonda says:

    A boma mukutipweteketsa because you want more money from Macra. Why cant you propsa to reduce calling tarifffs for people to appreciate that this is a caring government/ Shame on you Peter and you Goodall Gondwe.

  22. Thakolanga says:

    A malawi tili kale ku gehena,kufinyidwa

  23. field marshall says:



  25. Boma likufuna basi tisiye kuimba phone

  26. master says:

    This whiteman is a big crook, he says Nigeria has managed to register 183 million subscribers and yet we all know that Nigeria population is 160 million, where do u get the extra 23 million?????????? ndawonela apa that whites alo r great liars, ndawonela CEO wa TNM

    1. chande says:

      By number of subscribers they mean actual subscriptions not necessarily number of people with phones. Some people have 2 or more subscriptions on different networks or the same network; that will b counted as 2 different subscribers

  27. mangulenje says:

    TNM is hiding something. They have been ripping off Malawians big time and all this hullabaloo is to stop MACRA from implementing the CIRMS. They are also getting even with MACRA for stopping them from implementing their ridiculous tariff hike

  28. akulu says:

    Government is the one causing tariffs to be high. Hw can the owner gets 5bn and u get 15 bn as if its ur property. U don’t maintain their machines but getting their money

  29. Mathanyula Girratti says:

    I applause Tnm for the truth u have aired.The government z getting more than necessary.The government is stealing from u.Taxes & levies costing K15bn leaving the onwer of the business with K5bn is a pathetic situation.We told u that u can not run a country without donor aid and u fallen in the trap of stealing. Tnm rise your tarriffs so that the proffit tally with the principal capital.

  30. Kamuzu says:

    Mbava za tnm

  31. Kamuzu says:

    Mbava za tnm..,!

  32. Charter says:

    I don’t trust both sides! Why is TNM crying for public sympathy today? These people make a whooping profit on a poor man. I doubt that the profit margin vs. tax difference may be that big and the company still running the business. Government of Malawi is the most wicked. If they make K15 bn from one company alone, how much do they make in total? And why should there be lack aspirin and gloves in hospitals? Someone or both are not telling the truth here. If TNM is right, they can only fold their business. If government is fair, they should not be seeking more foreign investment – they have enough cows to milk!

  33. Charter says:

    I don’t trust both sides!

  34. Tiyende Ndawala says:

    If this information is to go by then we know who makes the tariffs high and makes a Malawian miserable. Nowadays phones are no longer luxurious everyone wants to communicate but if that’s the way things are happening we have thieves masquerading as government. Let’s not leave it here something has to be done

  35. Kokotowa says:

    Wake up you undergrads, MACRA is effectively milking dry you and me!

  36. Shona says:

    What are you guys talking about your friends in Zimbabwe are paying $130,000,000 just for the license and we hear you got urs at only $4,000,000. Stop milking us TNM

  37. 997 says:

    Nigeria has got a population of about 150 million how come there are 183 million?…Does it mean every Nigerian including babies are subscribers?

  38. Van Persey says:

    And yet ordinary share holders we are getting peanuts as dividends in I don’t just remember how much I received last time and neither do I care where my certificate is.

  39. soko says:

    Comment on many aspects the govt says they would like to do as what others are doing. Are these levies standard to what others are charging elsewhere. Govt complains of lack of investers coming to malawi, can a serious invester come to malawi with these levies

  40. zagwazatha says:

    Boma kuba vimbaza

  41. Mapwiya says:

    They want to make bonuses for Chikaonda.

  42. double says:

    tangosiyan a tnm after all muzitibera? come on government amvetsen kuwawa a tnm amewa asamatibere chomch or else azipita kwao

  43. chejali says:

    Kkkkk tnm ndi boma lanthu.

  44. Manzy j says:

    Nde k15 bn yonseyo siyathera kwaife basi mmmmmmm

  45. George Lihoma. says:

    These sort of taxes and levies are too expensive for any company operating in Malawi.That is if Mr Swart is telling TNM customers the truth. The irony is; recently,one cabinet minister was asking these networking service providers to consider their tariffs.Now,how can they consider tariff adjustments when they are being overtaxed? Hahahahahahahahaha!

  46. Billionaire says:

    Banks,Telecomuncations companies,MRA, Local assemblies etc. Are all into ligalised theft. Its queit amazing to see that Government instead of protecting Malawians its just thinking of milking them though without milk.

  47. mwiithotho says:

    Mutsitse ma charges omwe mumachita bill and you won’t have to pay that much

  48. ujeni says:

    The MD is lying, Switzerland, Netherland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark are countries with small population which translate to small numbers of subscribers as compared to overpopulated Nigeria. Infact combined population of the five European countries cannot even amout to half of Nigerias population. This all comes down to, Malawi will develop by Malawians, Europeans are only interested in.profits basi

  49. ujeni says:

    Where do these billions of kwachas go amangwetu Does it go in Mullis account then pays every mulhako member or they go into DPP account. We dont see streetlights, tarmac roads, houses or tall buildings being built in our cities. Is Malawi money for witchcraft basi

  50. CIA says:

    Consumers are the one to complain not the providers. however if money is paid to government it is given back to people through provision of social services and providers should not cry.

  51. bentby smart says:

    Stupid govt. Nde Mwayi mukubera ife cz of govt eti…. Ok tisova

  52. Mbewe says:

    tnm NETWORK is full of breaking voice quality, situkumvana antaa!

  53. brian says:

    FUCK Mr MD .

  54. Kanyimbi says:

    So 5 billion profit is not enough? We also pay this painful tax through PAYE. No one is spared.

  55. Liness Wa Chi says:

    Tnm Imalemba Ntchito Azungu Pamene Amalawi Eni Ake Akuvutika Ndi Uphawi.Kodi Mzungu Kwawoko Ntchito Ingamusowe

  56. Atcheya says:

    I can see a lot of MC’s venom in these statements. It’s strange that a company would come out in the media with such allegations and even insinuating (from the very last sentence in the article)that government is misusing the funds it collects from tax-payers like them, no matter how truthful this might be. You cannot be complaining of unfair practice when your company is making an after-tax profit of 102%

  57. MALUWA says:

    Thanks for that info but we can trust u as u are crooks stealing malawian money. To hell with you.

  58. Masambero says:

    Dont compare Nigeria with Malawi Botswana have 1.5 million population but their tarrif are very low than here and mobile users their are only 500 thousand how do they manage to make profit??

  59. Chimwemwe says:

    Govt and TNM they are all thieves!

  60. Zoona says:

    And check the fat salaries at MACRA. They are milking us through this fat cats/ service providers.

  61. Mikongoni says:

    Aaaaaa sono fisi iwe umafuna uzilabdila ndalamazo nkumangithyolera nthumba osaoeleka nsonkho Ku boma? Uzikapanga kwanu zimenezo ngati ndi zovimelezeka, a boma umbuzani mbava zimenezo zikutibela kwanbiri ife.

  62. M23 says:

    The money Macra collects is used for political campaigns of the party in power and electing billboards of presidents.

  63. makito says:

    I do not think you are being honest enough Mr. MD. You are thieves, that you know.

  64. Chimbofwa says:

    This govt is really not thinking of easing difficulties we face. Kodi ngati boma likutengako k15bn silidziwa ku tnm yimafuna kupanga recover almost the same, there by putting the burden on the local customer.

  65. nasimelo says:

    what was their profit before we rung our mouths off defending them

  66. Chibanja tv says:

    Could fellow indigenous Malawians fail to manage a company like this one? I thought tnm as a company for Malawians should be in the forefront recruiting Malawians in executive positions. Chakwa Kaisala chibwelere kwa kaisala wamva mzunguwe.

    1. Vin kamchila says:

      Malawians can we fail to manage our tnm? Mzunguyo akutani? We hav well baked administrator from poly….where wil they work?

    2. uchisilu says:

      achibanja kuganiza kobwelera mbuyo kumeneko. bwezi obama atakhala presidnt ku usa. be civilized. zachimizi basi.

  67. Eeish says:

    TNM, thanks for coming out of your cacoon, though late. Where did BBC get the false story and told it to the world without proper explanations. People tend to listen to BBC as gospel truth coz its a white people (azungu) run media? However, MACRA and Govt, you seem to be getting more than necessary. Is the taxing and levies comparable to prevailing regional practices? Are cellular companies CASH COWS of cash strapped govts at the expense of consumers? Fair Trading Unit and CAMA, you have a task here.

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