Govt liberalises importation of digital migration decoders


Government has opened up the market for importation and distribution of television tools for digital migration to ensure that transition from analogue to digital terrestrial broadcasting is successful.

Digital Migration Coordinator Gideon Munthali said this on Friday in Mzuzu at a digital migration sensitisation meeting for businesspersons where they were oriented on how to import the Set Top Boxes (decoders) for the digital TV sets.

Munthali, who is also Deputy Director of Civic Education in the Ministry of Information, Tourism and Civic Education said his ministry and Ministry of Finance are discussing to possibility of removing import duty on the decoders so that businesspersons are encouraged to import them and that many Malawians get them.


“The market is open now. Government wants business people to handle the importation, distribution and selling of the decoders. The ball is in your court. We want all stakeholders to be involved on this path to digital migration,” said Munthali.

Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) Technical Advisor on Digital Migration Benson Tembo said before importing the decoders, the importer has to first give Macra specifications of the decoders to get certification from the regulator to enjoy the free duty importation.

Tembo said anyone selling without Macra certification will be arrested.


He said 70 percent of Malawians do not watch television because they cannot afford it.

According to Tembo, 11 percent of Malawians own a television set and 46 percent of those that own sets are in urban areas while six percent in rural areas.

He said, so far, there are 16 free channels on Malawi Digital Broadcasting Network Limited (MDBNL) bouquet.

So far government has sold 13,000 decoders through MDBNL and post offices at the cost of K15,000.

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