Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) has bemoaned the conduct of some operators in the communication sector who deliberately hide information to consumers in order to maximize their profits.
Speaking during the commemoration of this year’s World Consumer Rights Day at Blantyre Youth Centre, Macra’s Director General, Andrew Kumbatira noted that some operators were taking advantage of consumers’ failure to speak up on some of the abuses they face at the hands of the service providers.
Kumbatira said: “Some of the operators in the communication sector get away with market abuses as a result of our silence as consumers. If we collectively speak up, we are going to force them to take notice of the myriad challenges that we are experiencing.”
He cited issues of high mobile phone tariffs and increase in cases of dropped calls and network congestion as some of the disheartening and discouraging challenges consumers continue to experience in the country.
Recetly, the country’s consumer watchdog, Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) forced one of the country’s mobile service providers, Telecoms Networks Malawi (TNM) to postpone its intended 14 percent tariffs hike.
Cama branded the tariffs hike as daylight robbery, arguing the increment was purely to maximize the company’s profits despite expectations from consumers for the company to drop its tariffs due to the economic gains the country has recorded.
And Kumbatira He assured consumers that the communication regulator would deal with the challenges they were currently experiencing by, among other things, encourage competition in the communication sector by removing all barrier to entry and welcoming new players onto the market.
He added: “We will also make sure that you get the best value of the money you invest in the purchase of airtime, data and other communication services.”
Macra was recently cleared by the Supreme Court to start implementing the Consolidated ICT Regulatory Management System (CIRMS) also known as ‘spy machine’ and Kumbatira said the machine will, among other functions, going to monitor quality of service in the sector including assessing the level of network congestion and dropped calls.
Meanwhile, Macra has launched a Consumer Awareness Campaign aimed at helping consumers know their rights. The communications regulator is expected, under the campaign, to cover all regions of the country interacting and creating awareness among consumers of their rights.
Kumbatira has since called on consumers to speak up and use existing channels to report cases of abuses or complaints they have concerning service providers, adding consumer protection was high on Macra’s
regulatory agenda and that it will continue to introduce a number of initiatives aimed at promoting consumer welfare.
Cama Executive Director, John Kapito said consumers in the country need to exercise their rights to demand better services from the providers.
Kapito said it was disheartening that government was failing to put up mechanisms as required by the law to operationalize the Consumer Protection Act (2003) that was enacted solely to protect the rights of consumers, address the interests and needs of consumers.
Macra commemorated this year’s World Consumer Rights Day under the theme ‘Speak Up’.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :