Leader of opposition in parliament Lazarus Chakwera says the 68 per cent electricity tariff hike is to pay for inefficiencies at the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) and asked the government to halt it.
Chakwera, who is also the president of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) says the tariff hike would harm ordinary Malawians than do any good to them.
“This is just Escom ploy to cover up its inefficiencies…the hike will add misery to Malawians. Things will not improve at Escom even after the tariff hike,” said Chakwera.
Escom is holding public meetings to solicit views on the proposed tariff hike which will see the power utility company hike 53 per cent as soon as the consultations are over.
“Not long ago, Escom raised the tariffs but nothing has changed, we are still in darkness. This is something Escom should be ashamed of,” he said.
Chakwera said the tariff hike is one way of getting back K3.8 billion stolen through fuel for generators at Escom.
Malawi Confederation of Chambers and Industry Chancellor Kaferapanjira said reasons advanced by Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) for the tariff hike was senseless.
He said Escom wants the tariff hike because power providers from the private sector want to raise their tariffs to Escom by 50 per cent, Escom wants to raise salaries of staff by a very big margin and they want to settle bad debts by the government.
“The tariff hike would trigger increase in goods and services across the country. It is sad that this hike is also coming at a time when Escom is failing to provide power to the people and the corporate world, when companies are relying on gen sets to provide power,” said Kaferapanjira.
He said it is not ethical and moral to raise the tariffs in order to pay for the inefficiencies at Escom.