Stay Safe, Use Technology
COVID-19 is an unprecedented, worldwide pandemic that has brought more depression than the 1918 Spanish Flu in terms of its impact on people’s health and behavior. As measures to control COVID-19 pandemic, physical distancing, and quarantine/self isolation have been enforced in most countries including Malawi. People are now working in shifts so as to decongest workplaces while students’ attendance of classes has been suspended as meetings, prayer and funeral gatherings have been restricted to people not exceeding 50.
The closing of schools is a cause for great concern as it negatively impacts on the education sector considering that students will lack that knowledge they need at a tender age. It is high time Malawi should focus on technology that will help in accelerating diffusion of emerging digital technologies as an alternative to physical class teaching.
The shifting of Parliament sittings would not only delay deliberations and passing of bills, but might as well negatively have a bearing on the national budget resulting into harming the country’s economy. There are programs and activities that Malawi as a country cannot afford to let them freeze with or without COVID-19. This is where innovations and digital technology come into play.
It is high time, as a nation, we seriously invested in technology and become as innovative as possible. President for Information and Communication Technology Association of Malawi (ICTAM) Bram Fudzulani said it is possible as a country to venture into use of technology and let the country move forward as normal during the pandemic period.
The recommendation comes as the National Assembly sitting for 2020- 2021 budget, review through the Office of the Speaker Catherine Gotani Hara-MP has been shifted from 22nd February 2021 to 12th March 2021 in an effort to mitigate the pandemic. Fudzulani said Malawi’s Parliament should emulate the example President Lazarus Chakwera set by virtually attending the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and recently the African Union Summit.
However, Fudzulani expressed concern over the high cost that Malawians are paying for Internet
services describing it as prohibitive. He, thus, made a recommendation to government to suspend or remove taxes on technological devices such computers and smart phones so as to ease communication and enhance information flow.