Mbabane: Government has stood up to rescue emaSwati by stopping the proposed water and electricity tariff hike which was expected to be effective from Monday June 1, 2020.
As per government’s decision, there will be no electricity hike this year and water tariff hike has been pushed to next month.
The tariff hike was going to be a heavy burden to consumers due to the economic effects of the Coronavirus.
Announcing government’s decision at the Cabinet Offices in Mbabane, the Honorable Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini said “The nation will also recall that on March 31, 2020 Government announced that the implementation of the approved electricity tariff increase for the year 2020/21 was deferred for a period of two months commencing from April 1, 2020 and ending on May 31, 2020”.
“Today I am announcing that the implementation of the tariff increase will be discontinued in order to cushion Emaswati during these challenging economic times. The power utility shall re-apply for an increment next year (2021) in terms of the governing laws” he said.
Dlamini sad government extends its appreciation to Eswatini Electricity Company (EEC) for having consented to this government measure.
Furthermore, the Premier said it has pleased His Majesty’s Government to announce that the water tariff increase that was deferred for a period of two months ending 31 May, 2020 will be again deferred for one additional month from 1 June, 2020 to 30th June, 2020.
Government’s decisions comes at a time when members of parliament earlier this week had called for the freezing of the electricity tariff hike.
The tariff hike follows the approval by the Eswatini Energy Regulatory Authority (ESERA) of the average tariff increase of 1.03 per cent and 1.05 per cent for the financial years 2020/2021 and 2021/2022, respectively. According to the new structure, the domestic users will pay five cents more as a unit previously cost E1.75.
Members of parliament said after assessing the situation it was public knowledge that the country was in an economic quagmire due to the outbreak of COVID-19, and companies and individuals alike were negatively affected financially.
The Eswatini Observer quoted members of parliaments saying they urge the Eswatini Electricity Company (EEC) to defer the electricity tariff hike until the COVID-19 situation improved. They said as a public enterprise, the company should put the people first”.
Under the prevailing situation, members of the public would not survive if electricity tariffs would be increased because it would also inflate prices of other basic commodities.