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Type Approval – CRAN acknowledges problems, but remains defensive

Type Approval – CRAN acknowledges problems, but remains defensive

By Musa Carter.

16 December 2016 – The ICT Professionals Association of Namibia (ICT-PAN), Chairman, Paul Rowney said that the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN), acknowledged that there are problems with the Type Approval regulations, but remains defensive and resistant to working with the ICT industry on a way forward.

Rowney recently said this to the Economist, following a meeting by all ICT players earlier in the month, where they discussed the impact of CRAN’s Type Approval regulations that came into play in November.

The implementation of the Type Approval regulations has seen all products with WiFi and Bluetooth capability that are not CRAN Type Approved, not allowed into the country. This has had a ripple effect in the industry, as nowadays most appliances have WiFi capabilities.

Rowney said, the discussion attracted 60 industry players that included importers, resellers, the regulator and logistics companies as well as CRAN officials, who, he said, were not senior management.

During the discussions, the meeting noted that the industry and public support type approval, but that in its current form it is unnecessarily impeding the industry and as a result of the regulations; ICT imports have significantly plunged. Consumer choice is now restricted as only a small number of products has been certified by CRAN and ICT companies are at the mercy of lengthy certification times.

Furthermore, it was noted that at least one company was closing as a direct result of the regulations and that others had indicated that they will be forced to close or change business if the regulations are not amended.

During the discussions the industry also felt that ICT projects are now being delayed and that the industry’s concerns are generally being ignored.

Meanwhile Rowney said, the industry desires a closer and more regular engagement with the regulator regarding the stated issues and concerns. The ICT industry requires a revision of the current regulations.

Despite recent requests to meet with the CEO of CRAN to discuss the industry’s concerns, these requests remain unanswered.

The meeting concluded that the regulations in their current form are not working and the industry is severely impacted by the regulations. Furthermore, the regulations lack clarity in particular on the products that required type approval.

Rowney said, from the discussions, the ICT-PAN meeting made recommendations that the regulations be amended and that whilst under amendment, equipment certified for import into other SACU countries be exempt from re-certification in Namibia.

ICT-PAN also recommended that the regulator offer a 30-day turnaround on certification and recognise and invite the industry to form part of the committee reviewing the regulations under amendment.

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