• Adjusting water tariffs upwards is not a good thing.
• The consumer will be more stressed.
• NWASCO should bring up charges that won’t make consumers more financially stressed.
Zambia Consumer Association (ZACA) says the proposal by water utility firms to adjust tariffs upwards will put more financial pressure on consumers who are already economically stressed.
Association Executive Secretary Juba Sakala told Money FM News in an interview that the proposal to adjust water tariffs upwards is a chain reaction to the recent hike in fuel prices, bus fares and the impending electricity tariff hike.
Mr. Sakala stated that this means that all those who are offering different services will increase their prices in order to meet their operational costs.
He noted that increasing water tariffs is not a good thing because consumers will be more stressed than they are now as everything has gone up while salaries have remained low.
“We are looking forward to a fruitful consultation that will yield good results. I know that proposal will be adjusting the water tariffs upwards, and recently we just had upward adjustment of fuel prices, we are also expecting electricity to go up, so these are just some of the chain reactions of fuel and electricity going up because all those who are offering services, they will adjust their prices upwards for them to meet their operational costs.”
“We will say adjusting water tariffs upwards is not a good thing because the consumer will be more stressed than he is now because everything has gone up but salaries are still low. All what we are hoping from these adjustments is that they will be in a range where a consumer will afford to pay,” Mr. Sakala said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Sakala called on National Water Supply and Sanitation Council (NWASCO) to ensure that bring up favorable charges that will be affordable for low income households.
He stressed the need to have tariffs which will be competitive and make the consumer pay so that they can receive the services.
“We don’t want to be in a situation where a consumer goes on accumulating bills and at the end of the day the water supplied is disconnected then they have no water. So we are appealing to water utility companies who are planning to adjust the tariffs upwards to bring up reasonable charges that will make the consumer that will make the consumer afford, because now we have fuel going up, basic essential commodities, bus fares and now we have water tariffs going up so if those things are affordable it will be better for the consumer.”
“We hope NWASCO will be considerate enough to bring up charges that won’t make the consumers more financially stressed than they are now,” he added.
On Tuesday, NWASCO Director Kelvin Chitumbo revealed that the institution has received tariff adjustment proposals from the 11 Water Utility firms in the country, subject to approval after consultation with customers.