Malawi Government has reversed a water tariff hike implemented by water boards in the country.
Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Water Development Joseph Mwanamvekha on Thursday ordered the three water boards that increased tariffs to stop using the new charges.
Speaking in Parliament after the issue was brought up, Mwanamvekha said the increment was illegal because procedures laid out in Water Works Act and Consumer Protection Act were not followed.
“I checked with what is happening on the ground and found out that indeed they have increased the tariffs.
“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,” he said.
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.
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.
The CPA in Section 3 says when tarrifs are hiked illegally, consumers should get “full, timely, adequate and prompt compensation for damages suffered, which are attributed to a supplier or trader”.