Zambia’s Transport, Works, Supply and Communications Minister, Christopher Yaluma, has reportedly accused the Zambia Information and Telecommunication Authority (ZICTA) of allowing the country’s mobile network operators to maintain high mobile tariffs. According to AllAfrica, the minister has called on the regulator not to stand by and watch local cellcos exploit Zambians with high tariffs, claiming that ZICTA has failed to perform its regulatory role. Arguing that ZICTA should be aggressive in its regulation of the mobile network operators, Mr Yaluma has directed the watchdog to produce a clear strategy for how it plans to improve access to ICT, especially in rural areas.
In response, ZICTA board chairperson Gertrude Akapelwa -Euheni was quick to note that internet tariffs had been reduced by more than 700%, a reduction which meant that Zambia now has lower tariffs than countries such as Lesotho, South Africa, Botswana, Malawi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Mozambique and Uganda. ‘ZICTA has managed to achieve a healthy competition in the ICT sector. Previously the market used to be characterised by interconnection disputes, excessive rates which were denominated in the US dollar, but interconnection rates have been reduced by 50% and denominated in the local currency,’ Ms Akapelwa -Euheni said.