Windhoek tariffs go up and upBy: CATHERINE SASMAN
WINDHOEK ratepayers will have to dig deeper into their pockets from next week, with most tariffs going up.
The Electricity Control Board (ECB) gave the City the go-ahead to increase electricity by 15,1 per cent from July 1.
This means that the basic tariff on electricity for low-income areas will increase by 14,94 per cent (N$75,88), 16,76 per cent for middle-income areas (N$227,17), and 17,06 per cent for high-income areas (N$537,17).
The basic water tariff will increase by 19 per cent and the water consumption tariff by nine per cent.
Other tariffs to increase are sewerage (10 per cent), property tax (25 per cent), household refuse removal (10 per cent), and solid waste management (10 per cent).
The chairperson of the City Council’s management committee, Agnes Kafula, said at Wednesday night’s council meeting that the City had no option but to hike tariffs.
NamPower is to increase its bulk electricity price by 17,2 per cent and the ECB levy has increased by 0,006 cents per unit purchased to 0,01406 cents per unit purchased, which represents a 134 per cent increase.
Windhoek’s average population growth is four per cent per year, which puts increased pressure on service delivery. Unemployment in Windhoek is estimated at 51 per cent.
Kafula said with increased demands for power, the City had to apply to NamPower for an urgent upgrade of its existing capacity of 160 megawatts to 201 megawatt.
This will cost N$418 million, with an upfront payment of 30 per cent.
Although NamWater has not yet announced a tariff increase, Kafula said, the water utility plans to upgrade the pump stations between the Von Bach Dam and Windhoek to cope with increased supply.
This project will cost N$500 million.
NamWater has indicated that it will have to increase its bulk tariff by 75 per cent over the next three financial years to carry out this project.
The City’s budget for the 2012/13 financial year exceeds N$3 billion, the bulk of which – more than N$2,6 billion – goes into the operational budget.
The municipality’s salary bill is more than N$911,9 million for its 1 950 employees.
More than N$1 billion is budgeted for general expenditure.
Kafula said the budgets have been compiled under difficult circumstances as costs escalate.
The City has a budget deficit of more than N$373 million.
The development budget for 2012/13 is N$430,9 million, of which N$383,6 million will be spent on running capital projects; N$47,2 million will go for new capital projects.
The capital budget for 2013/14 is N$223,4 million.
Kafula said the City would have wanted to include all requested capital projects, but simply does not have enough money.
Notwithstanding, she said, those projects prioritised for the next two financial years will go a long way towards providing much-needed services.
Priority areas for the City are the provision of municipal services in informal settlements, the construction of low-cost housing and the maintenance of existing infrastructure.