Malawi consumer body calls for quick attention of people’s welfare

The Consumer Association of Malawi (Cama) has appealed to authorities to urgently assess ordinary people’s welfare and reverse some hardships which have come because of adopting to every governance proposals made by Western countries.

Cama said this in reaction to a newspaper revelation that household in Malawi have been hit hard by skyrocketing electricity tariffs.

The Nation on Sunday reported that prices for electricity have gone up by 84 percent in 12 months despite continue lack of power by utility company, Escom.

Cama Executive Director John Kapito said it is the duty of government to lessen hardship experienced by its people through policies that will lift expenses in cost of living and not further squeeze the little hard earned cash by citizens.

“Already it is hard to cope with various unfair increases as a consumer and realistically people cannot afford to pay for electricity now with the ongoing rates.

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Kapito: It is hard to cope

“It will be impossible to have continuous power supply in households a development that puts at risk the environment since demand for charcoal will increase and more forests will be depleted.

“Therefore government must stop and reverse some of its policies as the Malawi economy is very different from others. The people’s welfare must come first before introducing some of these so called reforms,” said Kapito in reference to removal of price controls and stabilisation funds on fuel and utilities.

Domestic single phase supply has increased from K12.25 kilowatt hour (KWh) per month to K22.50 KWh per month.

However, Escom public relations officer Kitty Chingota said people should just get used to the heavy power bills as the electricity tariffs will continue to rise until the company starts making profits.

This line of thought has been heavily criticised by many business practitioners who argue that for Escom to start registering the profit they require, the company only needs to connect thousands of people on its waiting list and increase power generating capacity to stop punishing the few existing customers that are on its distribution list which it is also failing to satisfy as blackouts are the order of the day.

Engineers say Escom power demand for those on its grid is around 300MW with the countrywide demand for Malawi is pegged at over 1,000MW but the company only has an installed electricity generation capacity of 285MW of which 70MW is mostly unavailable hence the never ending blackouts.

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