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Hundreds of citizens of the southern Mozambican city of Matola took to the streets on Saturday to protest against increases of up to 67 per cent increase in the municipal rubbish collection fee.
One of the marchers, interviewed by the independent television station STV, declared that, even before the increase, the rubbish fee had been “unbearable”, and the problem was made worse by the incapacity of Matola Municipal Council to collect solid waste.
“People couldn’t pay the previous 50 meticais (about 81 US cents)”, this protestor claimed. “This situation is a great aberration. The City Council knows perfectly well it doesn’t have the means to collect the rubbish, but it wants to increase the fee”.
The Municipal Council argues that, in order to ensure a sustainable rubbish collection system, the fee has to be increased. It has remained unchanged for the past nine years, and so is completely out of line with today’s economic realities.
Furthermore, citizens certainly did pay the old fee – they had no choice in the matter, since, as in municipalities across the country, the fee is simply added on to the monthly electricity bill. The electricity company, EDM, then passes the money on to the Municipal Council.
The fee is a progressive tax. The richer a household is (as measured by the amount of electricity it consumes), the higher the rubbish collection fee it pays.
The lowest fee was 30 meticais a month, paid by those with an electricity consumption of less than 200 kilowatt-hours. That fee now rises by 50 per cent to 45 meticais a month (less than the price of a half litre bottle of beer).
For households that consume between 201 and 500 kilowatt-hours a month, the rubbish collection charge rises from 45 to 75 meticais (67 per cent). Anyone consuming more than 501 kilowatt-hours of electricity a month, sees their rubbish fee rise from 80 to 110 meticais (37.5 per cent).Source: AIM / Miramar
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