GABORONE, August 19, (AfricaBusiness.com) – – The landscape on the use of communication gadgets in Botswana is changing its look. Type approved equipment will only be allowed and it will be illegal to import equipments that is not type approved. Dealers and Suppliers who will be found still possessing equipment that is not approved will be fined between US$ 2000 to US$ 200 000 or prison sentence, and have their business closed for good.
Dealers and suppliers of telecommunication gadgets, such as two way radios, and mobile phones are bound by regulations to register with Botswana Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, (BORCA) in order to get licensees to sell type approved equipments.
This according to BOCRA in august 19 that the decision has been influenced by the fact that Botswana, since having mobile phones network providers has been experiencing a huge surge in the use of mobile phones, and this has as well prompted the authority to deal with complaints from consumers.
Consumers have been on the receiving end, having to deal with “scrap” phones that cannot work in the country, while others cannot connect to the networks to allow consumers to connect to the internet and other online services offered by mobile phone operators.
“There is no way we could allow a grace period for businesses to clear up their sub standard gadgets. BOCRA has been mobilizing businesses to register and have their products type approved to curb been on the wrong side of the law,” Consumer Affairs official Sellinah Kantini warned.
She said at a workshop for Dealers and Suppliers in the Botswana capital, Gaborone that their office has a backlog of consumer complains resulting from dealers and suppliers who refuse to assist consumers when their gadgets have problems.
Kantini said it would not be on their own right to postpone enforcing the Type Approval regulation to allow businesses to clear their sub standard stock piles of gadgets.
“If we keep on postponing we won’t get anyway. BOCRA has been consulting with all stakeholders..we saw this coming…it is just not good to start the postponement games. We will go out there and implement the regulation and have people fined if we find that they are not complying” the agitated Kantini warned, adding that they will take advise from BOCRA only.
Some business operators were bitter that BOCRA should allow them grace period to “sort themselves out”, and this could help them to clean their houses before the new regulation cuts teeth in.
BOCRA Chief Executive Thari Pheko told the dealers and suppliers that it will be illegal now to import products that are not Type Approved, saying that the country has come to a point where now consumers need to be protected from scrupulous dealers who push …”sometimes products dangerous to their health.”