Malawi’s flagship newspaper the Daily Times is calling for thorough investigations to fish out officials at the country’s water boards who ordered the secret and illegal hike of water tariffs by about 15 percent without the knowledge of consumers.
The Daily Times published a story about the illegal and secret hike of water tariffs by the country’s water boards which was violation the Consumer Protection Act.
Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Water Development Joseph Mwanamvekha told Parliament that government has stopped the increase describing it as illegal after Member of Parliament for Lilongwe Mapuyu North, Horace Chipuwa, queried government on the matter.
“It was worrisome to understand that at a time when government claims that inflation has gone down, water boards have decided to increase the tariffs without notifying their customers,” Chipuwa said.
In his response, Mwanamvekha Said:“I checked with what is happening on the ground and found out that indeed they have increased [the tariffs]. But it is unprocedural and illegal because the Water Works Act and Consumer Protection Act are clear in terms of procedures that need to be followed.
“We have directed that that increment should be reversed immediately, but that issue will still be looked at because of other fundamentals like cash flow in water boards”.
The paper says in its editorial comment that the revelation has forced the Ministry of Agriculture to immediately order the water broads to immediately reverse the inhumane decision.
“The truth is that without the revelation by the Daily Times, Ministry of Agriculture and Water Development could not come in to bail out the cheated Malawians. Now, the question we should ask is: What other bills are Malawians paying unknowingly?
“Water boards are surely led by learned people who understand the Consumers Protection Act and they knew and happy that they were cheating Malawians. It is such people who have created misery for Malawians and they must not be tolerated.”
The paper says for three months consumers have been unknowing victims of some crooked and clandestine decision by the water boards and that the water boards new they were duping their customers and gleefully continued that for three good months
“The decision to reverse that criminal decision is not enough. It must not end there. Malawians need not only an apology but they must be given back all the money stolen from them through this inhumane act. And again, we need to know all the minds behind that cheating scheme and implementation.”
The paper also recalls incidents that happened weeks ago when the Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services shocked Malawians when they imposed hefty fees and fines which attracted a public uproar “until ashamed of its own inconsiderate action, the directorate suspended the decision”.
“…All we are saying is that Malawians must not be taken for granted. This must stop,” The paper concludes.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :