The Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) has again called on Malawians to register their SIM cards describing the national wide mandatory exercise as a security issue aimed at protecting mobile phone users and network providers from fraud.
Making a presentation during a District Executive Committee (DEC) meeting in Blantyre, Macra Consumer Affairs Manager Ivy Chipezayani highlighted that the SIM registration exercise will protect consumers from fraud perpetrated by both phone users and network providers.
Chipezayani further said following the exercise, phone users will be able to recover their lost or stolen phones as network providers will be able to easily track down the gadgets.
However, Chipezayani bemoaned misconception surrounding the exercise with some aligning it to politics.
“This is why we have involved Civil Society Organisations to help us understand that this is a legal issue. Macra is just an implementer. Let me also emphasise that registration of SIM cards is here to stay,” Chipezayani said.
According to Chipezayani, the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology is yet to announce closing date for the mass registration exercise. However, sensitization meetings will continue until December this year.
In February this year, government announced in Parliament the suspension of the mandatory SIM card registration following a public outcry that the exercise was inconveniencing people in remote areas, among other reasons. The registration exercise resumed this month.
Speaking during the meeting, National Elections Systems Trust Executive Director Unandi Banda assured the public that the information they give to the service providers is strictly confidential.
“This is a positive development and we must all embrace it. Out of 54 countries in Africa, Malawi was among four countries that never had its people register their SIM cards, it is high time we move with time,” said Banda.
The mandatory SIM card registration is provided for under Section 92 of the Communications Act which Parliament passed in 2016.