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Information and Communication Technology Association of Malawi (ICTAM) has presented it comments and recommendations on the Communications Act review.

ICTAM presented its input to the Malawi Parliament through the chairman of the media and Communication committee. Presenting their recommendation in Lilongwe, ICTAM president Wisely Phiri who was flanked by the Association’s General Secretary Daud Suleman and Publicity Secretary Bram Fudzulani, asked the Parliament to amend the provision in the act that gives power to the minister to appoint Director General of the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) and allow the authority to advertise the post and being interviewed by the Parliamentary Public Appointments Committee who will recommend the right personnel after interviews.

According to section 19 subsection 1 of the 2015 Communication bill act reads that ” the minister, shall on recommendation of the Authority, appoint the Director who shalk be the chief executive officer of the Authority and shal; subject to the general supervision of the Authority, be responsible for the day to day operations of the Authority.”

According to ICTAM the above statement is in conflict with section part XXII subsection 195(a) which says that Macra shall submit or report to Parliament therefore they recommend that Parliament must be involved also in the appointment of the Director General, this should be done through Macra board which can advertise the post, interview and recommend to Parliament which then shall approve the Director General through its public appointments committee.

The association has also asked the committee to look carefully on what Macra Human Resource policy says as the Part II section 23 subsection two is giving much powers to Director General to appoint, subject to procedure for public service recruitment, employees below the rank of director.

According to the grou, that could lead to violations of powers one person in the name of Director General. When asked by Mchinji Southwest parliamentarian, Alex Chitete on what they think must be included in the act to avoid that the association asked the committee to ensure that MACRA has Human Resource policy that must dictate matters of the recruitment to avoid the abuse of powers. Phiri said the Director General must not appoint or recruit staff directly and it must be in the recruitment policy of the Authority.

The association has also asked the committee to consider put provision that direct appointing Authority to consider appointing atleast one ICT in the boards of directors that it appoint like what they do appointing lawyers, accountants and other profession.

He argued that if the country want to advance in technology as the world is moving it can’t achieve that if it leaves out ICT experts in the decision making boards.

Phiri, who was responding to Mchinji Southwest member of parliament question on the strength of their association, said ICTAM is as big as other professional bdodies like Malawi Law Society, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Malawi ICAM and asked for inclusions in decision making and consultancy if the country is to fully achieve its goal of moving from analogue to digital as that can’t happen without the involvement of its members expertise.
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