Minister of Information and Digitization Gospel Kazako has called upon public institutions to be accountable to the public, consumers and firms that they serve, stressing that this is key in delivering quality services to the citizenry.
Kazako made the call in Lilongwe on Wednesday during the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) Open Day.
The minister stated that the President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera’s administration has stressed the need for public institutions to be accountable in order for them to provide a better service delivery to consumers.
At this point, he MACRA to embrace the spirit of understanding service providers in the country, such as TV and radio station operators, on license issues if the country’s communication sector is to develop.
Kazako suggested that MACRA should be courteous when dealing with its clients on a variety of issues, including license issues.
“MACRA must not be like unfair masters, as regulator authority, they have to engage, they have to negotiate and they must be as nice as possible and they must know their obligations when dealing with the bodies which they regulate on different issues such as issues of license. At the same time people that are being regulated must also know their responsibilities and the regulations in all aspects,” Kazako said.
He also stated that the government is in the process of assisting media outlets that claim to have paid their license fees to MACRA but MACRA claims to be unaware of their payment.
“Some media houses have been complaining that they had paid MACRA their license fees but MACRA says it never received the fees, as a government we have called all of them to come together with evidence. If the media house made payment and MACRA was careless in keeping records then that calls for an action and MACRA’s management will be asked to do something about it,” he said.
According to the Minister, the government wants to ensure that there is fairness, balance, and understanding between MACRA and its clients.
MACRA Director General Daud Suleman stated in his speech that as a regulatory body, they are looking to improve their relationship with the companies they regulate in the country in order for them to grow.
He stated that MACRA will hold regular open day sessions in order to encourage dialogue with its clients, such as mobile telecommunications operators and media outlets, as a means of cementing the two entities’ relationship.
MACRA held the open day program for the first time in Blantyre on August 8, 2022, before moving it to Lilongwe. The program is also scheduled to be held in Mzuzu.
The program in Lilongwe drew top officials from telecommunications companies such as Airtel Malawi, TNM, and Nyasa Mobile Network, which is looking to start operations in the country, among other service providers.