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Lazarus Chakwera prefers digital solutions to fight crime

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Bram Fudzulani

President Lazarus Chakwera has said there is a need for the country to go digital to fight crime, including corruption, in public institutions.

The President observed that digital technology could also accelerate socio-economic development in Malawi.

He said this in Lilongwe Tuesday when he officially opened ICT Expo organised by ICT Association of Malawi (Ictam).

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“I want us to go digital so that the criminals who rob Malawians by taking advantage of poor recordkeeping in government transactions can be put out of business,” Chakwera said.

He said digital technology could also help families in the country benefit from social cash transfer, Affordable Inputs Programme and other government interventions.

“The future of everything is digital and Malawi must not only be part of it but also be one of the creators,” Chakwera said.

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He has since directed the Ministry of Information to work with ministries of Justice and Trade to make amendments to the Companies Act to establish a functional and digitalised beneficial ownership registry to avoid abuse and monopoly of the procurement system.

Ictam President Bram Fudzulani called for government to support ICT innovations, partly by ensuring that they, too, benefit from the recently gazetted Small and Medium Enterprises Order that enables them to have a reserved space of supplying goods and services to government.

He said Covid had also increased the demand for ICT services as evidenced by the use of virtual meeting packages, which were also adopted by Parliament.

Nevertheless, Fudzulani called on the government to reduce costs of data to make it accessible by an increased number of Malawians.

Information Minister Gospel Kazako assured that government was doing everything possible to ensure that data prices were reduced.

He said there was a need to increase the number of telecom companies to increase competition.

National Planning Commission Director General Thomas Munthali said usage taxes and levies accounted for approximately 26 percent of data price.

Chakwera was installed ICT Sector Ambassador at the event.

He said reducing the tax by one percent increases ICT uptake.

Meanwhile, Chakwera Tuesday hosted former prime minister of the United Kingdom (UK) Tony Blair at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe.

Blair, who arrived on a private jet and was said to be on private visit, sneaked into the country early morning yesterday through Kamuzu International Airport.

Acting Presidential Press Secretary Anthony Kasunda confirmed the President’s meeting with the UK former prime minister.

“President Chakwera was informed of Mr Tony Blair’s private visit to Malawi and the wider region. As such, in keeping with established international protocols, the President invited Mr Blair to pay him a brief courtesy call, his schedule permitting, to allow the two to get personally acquainted for the first time,” Kasunda said.

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