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Committee for reduced duty on broadcasting equipment

The Parliamentary Committee on Media, Information and Communications has recommended that the government should consider reducing taxes on broadcasting equipment.

The committee has also noted that the introduction of 10 percent tax on pay television has resulted in prices being too expensive for middle- and lower-income earners.

Committee Vice Chairperson, Godfrey Munkhondya, made the recommendation in a report on consultative meetings with various stakeholders, including media houses, between September 2016 and October 2017.

“Government should consider revising downwards custom duty on broadcasting equipment and excise tax on pay television to promote sustainable growth of the media, information and communication industry,” Munkhondya said.

The committee also found that limited airtime and geographical coverage are negatively affecting financial resource mobilisation in most community radio stations as most advertisers prefer national radio stations to community radio stations.

Munkhondya said the government should come up with a deliberate policy that will see it advertising with community radio stations for their sustainability.

During the meetings, the committee also found that there are modern and technological advanced equipment in various sections of the Parliament Building but officers do not know how to use such equipment.

“The committee was more concerned that the audio visual and Hansard sections were still using manual, obsolete technology and equipment in their operations such as the use of ordinary tapes for recording ordinary proceedings of the House,” Mukhondya said.

The committee went on to say the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority should be reporting to the committee on the performance of Universal Service Fund for accountability and transparency in the use of the fund.

Munkhondya also said the Malawi Human Rights Commission should be given adequate financial resources for the implementation of the Access to Information Act.

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