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Water Board ponders tariff hike

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John Kapito

Southern Region Water Board (SRWB) is planning to adjust water tariffs upwards, as a way of improving its service delivery.

Speaking during a stakeholders meeting on Thursday, the board’s Chairperson, Ibrahim Matola, said the organisation is failing to make strides in its operations following a rise in cost of producing the commodity.

The proposal to hike the tariff will see the board raising the price of a 200-litre drum from the current price of K67.48 to a proposed new price of K101.20 for home use and the current K21.74 for a kiosk to K32.61.

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Matola said the board is still consulting on the matter.

“It is a process and we are consulting. Then there are other legal instruments that need to be put in place. So it is in the process. We have come out to prepare you, we could have just increased secretly but we thought it wise that Malawians ought to know and understand.

“We thought of engaging stakeholders within our jurisdiction. We want to move away from the postpaid to the prepaid. We have to move with time. The tariffs we are using were last reviewed in 2018/2019 financial year but looking at the production cost, it has greatly increased which is giving us pressure to serve our people,” he said.

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Speaking after the meeting, Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) Executive Director, John Kapito, said there are a number of issues that the board has to put into consideration before the hike.

“The issue is not about backing the increase of tariff, what we were doing here was to look at the tariff proposal that the water board has presented to government and also look at the way they have been operating and if indeed it is justifiable for the increase.

“They increased the tariff 2018 and in between we have seen a number of challenges. Kwacha depreciating, the issue of Covid-19 created a number of challenges in institutions and some of the institutions are the water boards. Most of the resources required in the production of water are imported. So we can see that the board has tried to operate in a tough environment,” he said.

Water challenges have been one of the issues affecting the social economic development of the country where communities are forced to draw water from untreated sources.

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