LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-Dealers in electronic devises have accused the Copyright Society of Malawi (COSOMA) for introducing a ten per cent levy on all kinds of equipment saying the move will cripple their businesses.

The dealers from Lilongwe and Blantyre expressed dismay in an
interview with Maravi Post saying it will make business to do in the
country as it is already expensive to import such kinds of wares.

“We are not happy with this ten per cent levy because we do not know
any country in the region where this is done. If this is not stopped
then we will be negatively affected and eventually we might be forced
to close shops and go to Zambia because buyers are already complaining
of high prices,” said one shop owner based in Lilongwe’s old town.

A renowned electronics dealer in old town also accused COSOMA of
ambushing them saying they do not know what the levy will be sued for.

“The public must be told what the money will be used for because to us
we believe it is better to donate the money to hospitals rather than
COSOMA. If my business is affected by this levy I will be forced to
lay off workers. This is possible because customers are definitely
going to complain once prices are hiked,” he explained.

According to minutes of a recent meeting which took place in Lilongwe
between dealers in electronics, COSOMA and WIPO the dealers complained that they were ambushed as there were no prior consultations but COSOMA stood its ground claiming that they conducted stakeholder meetings in different parts of the country.

COSOMA recently organized a meeting in Lilongwe where ICTAM, WIPO and the dealers were in attendance and the delares are also said to have
accused the body of ambushing them.

The meeting was told that the introduction of the levy has been the
standard with the legislation (Copyright Act 2016) being followed by
regulations which were drafted reviewed adopted and published in the
gazette in 2018.

Said one source who attended the meeting.“Despite our protests the
Executive Director of COSOMA and  her colleagues  insisted that there
is nothing sinister  about this levy and that it has not just come out
of the blue as it is intended for the benefit of the creative industry
and Malawi at large but we are not in agreement.”

It was also revealed by the source that COSOMA during the meeting
requested ICTAM and ATOL to go through the gazette and the copyright
act 2016 in order to fully understand the levy the fund and the manner
in which it will be collected administered distributed and used.

COSOMA spokesperson Rosalio Kamanga said he could not comment on the matter as he was in a meeting.

“Call me later I am currently in a meeting,” he said.