Information and Tourism Minister Patricia Kaliati on Wednesday accused the Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL) of failing to roll out one year after its privatisation saying many people are still facing communication hiccups due to few telephone lines.

Speaking in Mangochi where she opened a five-day 33rd African Advanced Level Telecommunications Institute (AFRALTI) Governing Council meeting, Kaliati said when MTL was privatised people expected change and that its services should expand to rural areas.

“We are still having problems because you have not yet rolled out. And we ask ourselves why have we privatised. They [MTL] should prove themselves and [if] you will not do it well we may come back and say why can’t we do it,” she said.

MTL head of information technology Ascot Maluwa said in an interview his company has not yet rolled out because it was working on a business plan which has now been approved. He added that when new management took over in February last year it embarked on a project to clean up inefficiencies and rooting out corruption. “What remains now is laying out strategies because we have already installed new equipment. We will meet our targets before four years,” he said without elaborating on the targets.

Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) acting director general Mike Kuntiya said his body was expected to meet MTL to explain how they have faired after a year and would certainly question their licence conditions and get data on their roll out targets. “If they have not [rolled out] they should give reasons to that,” he said. When MTL was privatised it was agreed that it will roll out lines both in urban and rural areas to improve communication. Failure to do so would attract a penalty.

The Nation