Commission simplifies access to tobacco information

The Tobacco Commission has announced the roll out of a new information management system that will allow the public easy access to Malawi tobacco industry information and is expected to improve efficiency in regulatory work.

TC Chief Executive Officer Dr Joseph Chidanti-Malunga says the new system called the Tobacco Information Management System (TIMS) will allow government and the public to get reliable and accurate tobacco industry information instantly.

“We have centralized all the information in the industry and government will now have easy access to data on registered and licensed growers and tobacco exports, among others,” said Dr Chidanti-Malunga.

“The system will also enable us to make such information as sales data during the marketing season instantly available to the public.”

The Commission’s roll out of the new information system this month coincides with the opening of the 2021/2022 marketing season.

TIMS which is web based replaces the Farmer Management System (FMS)which TC says rendered tobacco industry information sharing processes too slow.

“TIMS is part of our reforms which will allow us to operate as a world class industry through improved efficiency in regulatory work and in other operations,” said Dr Chidanti-Malunga.

With TIMS, improvements are expected in reduced amount of time taken to serve TC clients as the new system’s uptime and speed are first-rate, a sharp contrast to FMS’ high outage. This is expected to expedite customer service, thereby decongesting the Commission’s offices during such times as grower registration and licensing exercises.

Tobacco growers and other stakeholders will also be able to get registered and licensed remotely, online. Currently, most of TC’s clients are required to physically present themselves at the Commission’s offices to be served.

As it has the ability to be integrated with third party systems, TIMS makes access to data held by the Commission’s stakeholders much easier. Such stakeholders include the floors operator AHL, tobacco buying companies and banks.

“The integration with third party systems will also facilitate payment transactions for the Commission’s clients such as growers as they will now have more payment options, including online and mobile money platforms,” said Dr Chidanti-Malunga.

TC says because of online financial transactions in the system, the security of cash controls is guaranteed, enabling the institution to remain on its path to more solid financial sustainability.

The Commission recently announced that new financial management measures in the last financial year yielded a K325 million profit, 20% of which was remitted to government as a shareholder. The regulator had in the previous financial year recorded a K81million loss.

Meanwhile, the Tobacco Commission, which is mandated to regulate Malawi’s tobacco industry, says is committed to increasing the volumes of tobacco produced in the country by 2023.

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