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BWB hints at another water tariff increase

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By Justin Mkweu

Blantyre Water Board (BWB) has revealed that it is planning to propose another 40 percent increase in water tariff for the next year and 10 percent in 2023 to meet the cost of production.

This was disclosed in Blantyre during the launch of BWB’s five-year Strategic Plan.

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BWB Director of Finance Paul Chiumia said the cost of purifying and distributing water is hampered by high energy costs and high non-revenue water, among others.

“The other challenge is tariffs because tariffs are very low compared to costs of delivering the service,” he said.

From November this year, BWB effected a 40 percent rise in water tariffs which was received with mixed reactions by the public.

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Reacting to the proposal, Centre for Social Concern Programmes Coordinator Bernard Mphepo said another hike would induce pain on the consumers.

He said the water board should consider striking a balance between low income and high income areas when setting the rates.

“Rise in water tariffs affects low-income earners the most. Therefore, we would urge water boards not to raise tariffs unnecessarily unless they have put measures that will protect low-income earners,” he said.

In a bid to meet customer expectations, BWB has unveiled the five-year strategic plan which focuses on financial growth, increasing capacity and reducing costs of production.

Minister of Forestry and Natural Resources Nancy Tembo said the ministry had taken note of the planned increase and would closely monitor d e v e l o pme n t s around it.

“They have to ensure that they are more efficient and have cost-cutting measures to have a water board that is profit-making and satisfying customers and I am sure, if these are met, there will be a day when we will reduce water tariffs,” she said.

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