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Municipality ransacks Windhoekers’ pockets despite high in?ation

by Kelvin Chiringa

Windhoek residents will have to dig dipper into their pockets as the municipality hikes its tariffs amidst an unforgiving in?ationary environment and massive job losses. Besides a water consumption tariff for nondomestic(business) increase of 20 percent, City of Windhoek has made pronouncements of other tariff-hikes.

CoW has proposed that the tariff for water from communal standpipes be increased with 9 percent while the household refuse removal tariff will be increased with 10 percent.

The municipality has also suggested that the service availability charge be increased with 5 percent while the informal settlement refuse removal tariff will be increased with 10 percent.

A 10 percent increase of the solid waste management tariff has further been pronounced together with a 7 percent hike of sewerage tariffs.  Semi puri?ed water tariff will also be increased with 25 percent while a prepaid water meter tariff will be established.

CoW has also called for the special reading for water meter be to N$212.75 per reading while the artisan called out tariff will be N$632.50 per call out.

Prepaid water tokens have been suggested to be N$300.00 per token and the bus ticket tariff will be increased with N$1.00 per trip.

It has also been resolved that “the sewer charges be levied against the erf owner or the tenant, to ensure that losses are not incurred during the transfer of properties.” As the city’s unemployment rate has grown to 34 percent, the ability of the residents to pay their accounts has been put to question.

Meanwhile, Namibia’s in?ation has gone up and is hovering around 6.7 percent and consumers are fast ?lling the pinch as their purchasing power continue to weaken. “The average in?ation affects also the buying power of the City of Windhoek, meaning that the organisation can buy less with the same amount of money compared to the same period in the previous year. Our residents can likewise also not afford high cost increases on consumer items,” it has been observed in the Municipal Council minutes availed to the media in the past few days.

To add insult on the injury, rural-urban migration remains untamed with a growth rate of 6 percent, a factor that has caught CoW off-guard. The city has observed that “it means that there is more pressure on the City to provide services whilst most of these settlers do not have jobs and comes to the city in anticipation for a better life.”

 “The challenge however is that the portion of residents who cannot afford municipal services keeps increasing,” the minutes read. Faced thus with this surge in the population with limited resources, the city has been thrown in a dilemma and thus resorting to hiking tariffs in the face of a stormy economy that is vomiting people out of jobs and registering poor growth.