Water boards in Malawi hiked water tariffs by at least 15 percent without telling Malawians.
According to the local media, Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) and Northern Region Water Board (NRWB) hiked their tariffs in August while Blantyre Water Board (BWB) raised the tariffs in September.
Commercial users have also been paying more money as tariffs for commercial usage were raised by 20 percent.
NRWB spokesperson, Edward Nyirenda said the parastatal board increased tariffs by 15 percent starting from August 1 this year but he said that they followed procedures since government approved the increment in the 2017/18 financial year.
According to Nyirenda, the board held engagement meetings with its customers to alert them and proposed tariff increases were submitted to government before later being approved.
Raising tariffs without telling customers is prohibited under Section 6 of the Consumer Protection
Act (CPA) which says service providers should provide consumers with true, sufficient, clear and timely information on the services they offer.
Some consumers complained to Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) that in recent months they have been receiving high bills even though there has been no significant change in the way they use water.
CFTC Director for Consumer Welfare and Education Lewis Kulisewa confirmed receiving the complaints to the local media and said his organization will investigate the water users’ claims.
“The investigation is ongoing and, as soon as the investigation is concluded, we will advise the general public [accordingly],” he said.