MACRA develops regulatory framework for ICT devices

Lilongwe, Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) is drafting a regulatory framework to ensure that Information Communication Technology (ICT) devices comply with appropriate standards.

Called conformance and interoperability regulation, the framework will ensure conformity of products to minimum regulatory technical and safety requirement.

The development means Malawians will now be protected from substandard mobile phones, computers, data storage devices, among other gadgets that are imported into the country.

Speaking Tuesday in Lilongwe during a workshop on the same, MACRA’s Acting Director of Legal Services Dan Chiwoni said the ICT industry is currently facing challenges due to absence of the regulatory framework.

He said MACRA was given the mandate to approve type of electronic equipment for use in the country.

Type approval is a procedure where MACRA certifies the acceptability of an electronic equipment or product, Chiwoni said.

He said the surge in the technological advancement had come with its challenges, one of them being the production of substandard and counterfeit telecommunication equipment and gadgets.

The substandard equipment pose threat to the health and safety of ICT consumers as well as the environment, Chiwoni said.

To this effect, he said ICT consumers have the right to be protected against hazardous and counterfeit products that are imported into the country without proper scrutiny.

The authority has put in place various mechanisms aimed at ensuring that the ICT devices available and in use in the Malawian market are in compliance with the applicable standards, he said.

A representative of Southern African International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Chali Tumelo said the regulation will promote efficiency, high quality products and services for the benefit of consumers.

She said Malawi has done well to develop the framework because it is in line with international standards of regulating ICT equipment.

Counterfeit telecommunication or ICT equipment is a growing socio-economic problem. It causes significant negative impact to the innovation [and] levels of foreign direct investment growth, Tumelo said.

Section 6(2), 95 and 96 of the Communications Act (2016) mandates MACRA, to type approve electronic equipment for use in Malawi.

Source: MANA Online