CAMA rejects water tariff increase

Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA) has objected the proposal by government to raise water tariff, saying its timing is coming at a wrong time when the country is experiencing one of the highest cost of living and government needs to consider the welfare of consumers.

In a statement, CAMA Executive Director, John Kapito said: “Any tariff increases on water will have a trigger effect on prices of other essential goods and services.

“We are aware that Government doesn’t care and is arrogant and will proceed to implement this punitive water tariff but as consumers, we are warning that such an approval will have devastating consequences.”

CAMA Executive Director, John Kapito

Kapito thus appeals to the authorities be a listening Government and reject this proposed water tariff increase — arguing that a year ago the Water Boards had a huge water tariff increase and they promised and committed themselves to Service Level Agreements with specific key performance indicators, which were subject to review before any water tariff adjustment.

He further said through its own initiative, CAMA carried out assessments on the agreed service level agreements or key performance indicators and discovered that the Water Boards failed to implement or deliver on all of its own commitments and the Ministry of Water was continuously reminded of these failures by Water Boards.

“It is, therefore, cynical and uncaring for government to propose a new tariff increase with the current failures by the Water Boards. The Water Boards — despite the huge water tariff increase in 2021 — have failed to deliver consistent and continuous water supply to Consumers.”

Kapito added that consumers were left with dry taps throughout the year as Water Boards never provided adequate information as a result of the poor delivery of water and neither did they provide alternative water supplies either through use of bowsers as agreed.

He added that throughout 2021, the quality of water from all Water Boards was poor mixed with mud and other foreign objects and further said consumers were unable to get water connections due to Water Boards failures to provide meters and pipes.

“The Water Boards failed to reduce non-water revenue losses as a result of pure negligence and carelessness. The Water Boards are still owed huge sums of money by government departments despite committing to put in place systems such as prepaid meters.

“Consumers were shocked that after accepting and paying a high water tariff, the services of the Water Boards were unsatisfactory.”

Kapito observed that it is unwise for government to propose another new tariff when the Water Boards are failing to deliver on their commitments — emphasizing that nothing will improve the operations of these Water Boards following the increase.

“The Water Boards have failed to perform over the years despite operating in a market where they face no competition, and all Water Boards have access to cheap international loans using public as guarantees

“Government should appreciate that the Water Boards are public entities managed on tax payers money and protected against any competition and that their service is to provide an essential product to both the rich and poor Malawians with clean portable water,” he said.

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