Namibia: City Municipal Bills Set to Increase

Windhoek residents will have to delve deeper into their pockets to pay for basic amenities, as the City of Windhoek scrambles to keep up with the escalating cost of providing services and to make up for a budgetary shortfall of N$125 million.

This comes after the City of Windhoek tabled a budget of N$3.79 billion for this financial year. However, City officials project a deficit of N$125 million, subject to the chief executive officer's approval of the implementation of strict cost-control measures to reduce the deficit by year-end.

Of the total budget N$179 million will go towards the capital budget and the remaining N$3.61 billion towards the operational budget.

Chairperson of the management committee Matheus Amadhila said the operational budget was compiled under difficult circumstances, as the cost of operations is ever escalating.

Amadhila said in light of the increases imposed by their bulk suppliers, they were left with little option but to propose tariff adjustments, in order to reduce the projected budget deficit.

It was proposed that the basic water tariff be raised by 10%, sewerage tariffs by 18 percent, water tariffs by 15 percent and property tax tariffs by an additional 10 percent.

It is further proposed that household refuse removal tariffs should increase by 10 percent; availability charges for services by 5 percent and informal settlement refuse removal tariff by 10 percent.

Solid waste management tariffs will increase by 10 percent, while the irrigation tariff (potable) will rise by 15 percent. Semi-purified (non-potable) water tariffs will rise by 10 percent.

City officials explained that the anticipated budget deficit of N$125 million is mainly the result of tariff increases over the past five financial years that fell below the cost-recovery margin.

"This accumulative deficit is not sustainable, but to correct this situation the city will need to increase tariffs that will not be affordable for the general public," Amadhila noted.

On average households will spend an additional 14 percent on their monthly municipality bill. A low-income household will spend an added N$107.56, while a middle-income household will spend an extra N$256.63. High-income households can expect to spend an additional N$578.63 on their monthly municipal bill.

Source: New Era