Saturday, December 2Malawi's top news source

Water Boards To Hike Tariff

Notice: Undefined index: post in /home/kingwpmf/ on line 194

The country’s five water boards are pushing for a tariff hike of between 15 and 40 percent from April 1 2023, but Minister of Water and Sanitation Abida Mia says the cholera situation will inform decisions.

Representatives of the five water boards, at the invitation of the Ministry of Water and Sanitation, met the Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources on Saturday in Mponela, Dowa where they outlined the challenges they are facing to meet demand.

Woman draw water at a kiosk in Blantyre

In an interview yesterday, committee chairperson Welani Chilenga confirmed the meeting and said failure by the boards to increase the tariffs will worsen their situation because even with the increment, they will still be operating at a loss.

He said water boards need to raise the tariffs now to meet operational costs and offer improved services to Malawians.

The five water boards are Northern Region Water Board (NRWB), Central Region Water Board (CRWB), Lilongwe Water Board (LWB), Blantyre Water Board (BWB) and Southern Region Water Board (SRWB).

Said Chilenga: “We met them on Saturday and we agreed with their recommendation that by April 1 [2023], when the new financial year will start being implemented, this should be implemented.

“ In fact , with the 25 percent devaluation of the kwacha [in May 2022], their recommendations are even long overdue. Delaying further with the water tariff increment would not help matters as water boards services are being affected.”

He said BWB and CRWB have proposed an average of 40 percent while SRWB is proposing 35 percent. On the other hand, LWB is asking for an average of 25 percent and NRWB is asking for an average of 15 percent.

But Mia put her foot down in an interview yesterday, insisting the tariff increment can only be effected when the cholera situation eases.

She said: “With the cholera situation, there is no way we can increase the price of water because people are struggling, they need water. It is life.

“As long as there is cholera and people are struggling for water, there is no way we can increase the tariffs.”

Cholera has so far affected all 28 districts, killing over 825 people and infecting 24 884 nationwide.

Mia said she was aware of the meeting, but said President Lazarus Chakwera will not allow a water tariff adjustment in the midst of a cholera crisis.

However, Chilenga insisted that the argument by government that the increment will affect the cholera fight was wanting, as they need money to expand to areas where people are yet to start accessing clean and potable water which can only be done with money.

He said even with the proposed tariffs, water boards will not be able to recover operational costs, as they will still be running at a loss.

“The implementation date is April 1, and if these new figures are not implemented, the boards will eventually close shop and the cholera situation will worsen,” Chilenga said.

Water Users Association of Malawi executive secretary Shadreck Kalitera could not be reached for comment. However, in an earlier interview, he said utility providers continue to operate in dire straits.

He said: “The current tariff is below full cost recovery. And worse still, the water boards are heavily owed by the ministries, departments and agencies [MDAs].

“There is a need for cost recovery tariffs. This will enable water boards to meet the operation and maintenance costs, service debt and renew its assets.”

Besides huge unpaid water bills by MDAs that hovered around K23 billion last year, water boards also lose K30 billion annually to non-revenue water, have huge electricity bills but also face increasing cost of production.

But Mia said the government is looking at ways of recovering such debts to ease operational pressure.

According to Section 35 of the Water Works Act (1995), a board shall make water charges as are approved, within a reasonable time, by the minister for the supply of quantities of water measured by meter, for the rental of meters, or for the provision of other services.

Giving you more news Malawi Freedom Network News

Malawi Protesters Demand Inquiry Into Allegations Of Rape By Police Officers

EU and Britain ramp up pressure on government to act as street demonstrators converge on Lilongwe Hundreds of rights campaigners Read more

Dust Refusing to Settle for Martha Chizuma

Dust is refusing to settle for Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director Martha Chizuma as she has been taken to task to Read more

Nancy Tembo clarifies why the president is attending the meeting in America

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nancy Tembo clarifies why the president is attending the meeting in America. She says the president Read more

Malawi president under fire for family appointments to cabinet

New 31-member cabinet includes six figures who are related to each other, although not to the president. Malawians have voiced Read more

Zameer Karim accused of intent to defraud Ecobank

Businessman Zameer Karim is facing a charge of intent to defraud Ecobank over K850 million, which is connected to Police Read more

MWENYE KIDNAPPING SAGA: Mustak Chotia implicates Mr Dipak Jevant of Sealand Investments

Mr Mustak Chotia, the mafia who masterminded the kidnapping of Shayona Cement Managing Director has implicated Mr Dipak Jevant, Managing Read more

Malawi Police zero on Indian Community’s kidnapper ring leader: Lebanese lady Rola Nasr Eldinne involved

Kadadzera: We are still investigating The issue of kidnapping and attempts on Indian community in Malawi with evil intentions is Read more

Fear grips Malawi’s Asian community over attacks, kidnapping

                                        Read more

Mustaq Chotia Implicates Mr Dipak Jevant mastermind kidnapping Shayona Boss

Mr Mustak Chotia, the mafia who masterminded the kidnapping of Shayona Cement official has implicated Mr Dipak Jevant, Managing Director Read more

Oops! Batatawala’s Son On the Loose

The Anti Corruption Bureau ( ACB ) has arrested self styled Blantyre businessperson Lido Karim also known as Batatawala two Read more

News To Read

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *