Amid great fanfare and pomp, MACRA on Friday 13th March, 2015 commemorated this year’s World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) at a public event held at Blantyre Youth Centre (BYC) and a public discussion at Ryalls Hotel.
Speaking to the crowd that gathered to witness the event at BYC, Guest of Honour MACRA Director General Mr. Andrew Kumbatira said it was disheartening that in the face of abuses at the hands of various operators in Malawi’s growing communications sector, consumers continued to remain silent.
“This is irrespective of the many channels that we as MACRA have opened up to enable you the consumer to send your grievances and complaints including boxes that have been placed in all post offices and telecentres across the country,” said Mr. Kumbatira.
He said this was why MACRA was commemorating the WCRD under the special theme “Speak up” to remind consumers of their obligations to “be assertive and aware” so that they get quality, reliable and efficient communication services.
At the BYC event, which was also graced by the Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA) Executive Director Mr. John Kapito, MACRA officially launched a “Know Your Rights” consumer awareness campaign that will cover all of the country’s regions.
In the run up to the BYC public event, motor vehicle floats went around selected townships in Blantyre City to raise awareness on consumer rights and obligations.
In the evening, MACRA held a public discussion at Protea Ryalls Hotel that was broadcast live on Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) Radio where the Blantyre City Mayor, Councilor Noel Chalamanda, was the Guest of Honour. The discussions revolved around the question: “What is the impact of telephone services on economic development and consumer welfare in Malawi?” Panelists included officials from MACRA, CFTC, CAMA and FEDOMA and representatives of Access Communications Limited (ACL), Airtel Malawi Limited, Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL) and Telekom Networks Malawi Limited (TNM).
World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD), commemorated on 15th March, is an annual occasion for celebration and solidarity within the international consumer movement. WCRD is an opportunity to promote the basic rights of all consumers, for demanding that those rights are respected and protected, and for protesting the market abuses and social injustices which undermine them.