Water tariff hike looms

Water boards may ‘collapse’

Werani Chilenga

By Wezzie Gausi:

Consumers should brace for tough times ahead following revelations that the Ministry of Water and Sanitation has asked the Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Climate to implement a second a phase water tariff increment.

The proposed water tariff hike follows another tariff hike the country’s water boards implemented on November 1 last year, averaging 52 percent.


In an interview, committee chairperson Werani Chilenga said the Minister of Water and Sanitation has, according to the law, power to enact a tariff hike in the country.

He said the committee has been consulted more than three times to raise the tariff.

“We, as a committee, share their concerns to hike the water tariff.


“However, it is not all water boards that require the tariff hikes. For instance, Blantyre and Central Region water boards are the ones that have been highly hit [when they] offer services. These water boards may collapse if they are not helped urgently,” Chilenga said.

The chairperson said he is concerned that Lilongwe and Northern Region water boards are looking for tariff hikes as Parliament has approved different projects with funding to these boards.

“As things stand, the committee has withheld its ruling on the matter until January when we will produce a comprehensive report on the same,” he said.

Meanwhile, Consumers Association of Malawi Executive Director John Kapito has said all water boards and Ministry of Water signed a Memorandum of Understanding on how the last water increment was to be done.

He said the new tariff increment will only be possible if the key performance indicators that were agreed have been met.

“As things stand, Cama has not received any report on how the increment of last season has addressed water problems in the country.

“Apart from that, the increment will be done based on the performance of water boards. So, we will only say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to water tariff hikes if we sit down and review how water boards performed after the 2021 increment,” Kapito said.

Water and Sanitation Minister Abida Mia told The Daily Times that she knows nothing about the meeting and referred us to the Secretary for Water, who did not respond to a questionnaire we sent to him.

Last year, new tariff structures showed that Blantyre Water Board consumers were to pay 40 percent more while customers of Southern Region Water Board face a 50 percent hike and those under Central Region Water Board face a whopping 65 percent raise.

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