By Our Reporter:
Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has called on the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) to reverse illegal tariffs, which were implemented without the authorization of the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA).
CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa said following the development, MERA should discipline ESCOM over this embarrassing incident and the power provider reverse the illegal tariffs and workout a mechanism to ensure that the consumers have been paid back what was overcharged.
“We find this news very disturbing as it is illegal for ESCOM to make unilateral decisions. We are, on the other hand, surprised with the statements from MERA indicating that the regulatory body advised ESCOM not to put into effect the newly adjusted electricity tariffs. CDEDI has made inquiries from MERA to give details about this directive to ESCOM, but to no avail.
Namiwa, therefore, said they are inclined to believe that the government is remotely controlling MERA to push the blame on ESCOM, following a backlash from the public over exorbitant charges, tariffs and levies on essential services and products such as water, electricity, fuel and cooking oil.
“Malawians of goodwill may wish to recall that on 21st April, 2021, CDEDI led the country in nationwide peaceful demonstrations against these insulting tariffs and charges on essential goods and services, which are hurting the poor and the marginalized.
“Government started taking responsibility for some of the administration’s mistakes, and not pushing the blame on individuals or institutions, as witnessed by this blame game between MERA and ESCOM,” he said.
Namiwa said of late, President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera has been a champion of this blame game, while taking credit for all the positives he claims his government has recorded under his leadership.
“For instance, Dr. Chakwera pushed the blame about the fuel supply saga at the National Oil Company of Malawi (NOCMA) on some people he claimed were sabotaging the current administration; he blamed the civil service for the MK6.2 billion Covid-19 scandal; he blamed the Vice President Dr. Saulos Chilima for delaying the assessment report for cabinet ministers, which has reportedly delayed the much-touted cabinet reshuffle; and the list goes on.
“CDEDI is reminding President Chakwera that Malawians are currently struggling to make ends meet due to among other things, the high cost of living, which is as a result of high cost of essential commodities and services such as water, electricity, cooking oil, fuel and mobile phone charges.
“The recent revelations at MERA and ESCOM are a clear manifestation that the country either ushered into office a President who is failing to firmly hold the reins of power due to his indecisiveness on matters of national importance, or a government which has total disregard for the plight of the poor and the marginalized people in society, or both,” said Namiwa