MACRA tops list of best performing regulators

Finance Minister Sosten Gwengwe has named Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority (MACRA) as top of the list of best performing regulators — followed by TEVETA and the National Construction Industry Council.

The Minister made this announcement in Lilongwe on Monday at a meeting with heads of all 72 state owned institutions where they signed shareholder’s letters of expectations as implementation of the 2023/2024 financial year budget commences.

Minister Gwengwe and the delegates to the meeting

He thus disclosed the worst and best performing state-owned enterprises in 2022 with ADMARC topping the list of worst performers in the trading sector, followed by Blantyre Water Board and the National Economic Empowerment Fund.

In the regulatory sector, the Tobacco Commission has been singled out as the worst performing while the best performing state-owned enterprises in the trading sector has Energy Generation Company (EGENCO) topping the list, followed by Lilongwe Water Board and Airport Development Limited.

Gwengwe reported that government is currently looking at the relevance of some state-owned enterprises, hinting that government would close or merge some of them.

According to reports most of the delegates at the meeting expressed worry over continued extravagance by some state-owned enterprises although most of them are not making profits.

As a communications regulator, MACRA has facilitated many reforms that are in line with the country’s development blueprint, the MW2063 to ensure advanced communication services for a digitally transformed nation.

The regulator established the Universal Service Fund, which is its main tool in providing universal ICT access for all through financing ICT projects in rural and hard-to-reach areas of the country.

MACRA has also in operational, the National Addressing System — aimed at assigning and allocating physical addresses to all residents in the country through property and house numbering and street naming.

There is the Type Approval Regulations that provide guidelines on the standards of ICT equipment for use in Malawi, whose process ensures that consumers of ICT services are protected against hazardous products and goods.

Taking cognizance of the rising cases of digital fraud, MACRA is building a digital forensic laboratory for Malawi Police Services to enhance the fight against cybercrimes in the country.

This was disclosed by MACRA chairperson, Dr. Stanley Khaila in January at the first of its kind regional public relations (PR) conference, which was co-organised by MACRA and Public Relations Society of Malawi (PRSM) — under the theme ‘Policing in digital era.’

Khaila also said MACRA has partnered the MPS on several issues — “most notable is the mobile fraud task force, where various key stakeholders have come together to harmonize our efforts in the fight against the vice that is mobile fraud”.

The task is made up of the Reserve Bank of Malawi, Airtel, TNM, MACRA, MPS, Prison Services, and the National Registration Bureau and Khaila said: “We believe that our combined efforts are in the right direction in dealing with mobile money fraudsters and making our digital space safe for all.”

This is on top of the deployment of a identity SIM card and phone register system in Malawi, which will assist in tracking down stolen phones and also ensuring that only original phones are able to be registered for use on the mobile and telephone networks.

There is also the establishment and operationalization of the Malawi Computer Response Team which is responsible for the coordination of cyber security issues on a national level.

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