Zinwa slashes tariffs, open to negotiations

THE Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) says it is open to further reductions of water tariffs after the body last year slashed fees by between 27 and 56 percent for various sectors.

Zinwa chief executive Jefta Sakupwanya recently told delegates at the Zimbabwe Agricultural Show annual agribusiness conference in the capital that the authority — which manages and maintain dams and other water bodies — had already slashed tariffs and was open to doing so again on a case-on-case basis.

“As Zinwa, we see ourselves as key enablers to a key economic sector like agriculture and as a contribution to the ease of doing business, we have slashed water tariffs for the various categories of farmers.

“Not only have we done this, but our doors are always open for those farmers who want to negotiate with us, as long as the proposal is justifiable,” he said, adding the body was moving to make business easier for farmers through more affordable tariffs.

Sakupwanya said the cost of water had been slashed across the board from farmers to local authorities, industry and miners.

“The cost of a million litres (megalitre) of water for a communal farmer has been set at $2 and for the A1 farmers; we have put the cost for a million litres of water at $3. For the A2 farmers, that cost for a million litres of water is $5.

“For the commercial agricultural estates, like your sugar plantations we have set the cost at $12, for local authorities, the cost is at $6, for industry, $9,45 and for the mining sector $50 and this then allows us to subsidise those vulnerable sectors of our communities,” he said.

Before the tariffs were slashed, A2 farmers used to pay $6,82 per megalitre while A1 farmers used to pay $5 per megalitre as communal farmers were obligated to part with $4,50 per megalitre.

However, farmer member organisations like the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union have come out saying the tariffs are still high considering the cost of business in the country on the back of expensive labour, power and other raw materials.

This comes as Zinwa has been accused of failing to maintain dams and other water bodies since it took over the mandate after the country’s hurried land reform programme.

Industry has also pointed fingers at the authority saying Zinwa has been neglecting water infrastructure despite charging exorbitant maintenance fees.

However, urban residential tariffs remain relatively high as Zinwa reportedly charges an estimated $90 for 5 000 litres in urban areas.

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