By Tione Andsen – Mana.
Country’s Water Boards are still owed K 30 billion in water bills from government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Malawi News Agency (Mana) has learnt.
Water Services Association of Malawi (WASAM), Executive Secretary, Dokani Ngwira revealed this Friday in Lilongwe during a Press briefing in Lilongwe regarding the threat of Covid-19 in the country.
He said the bill was reduced to K23 billion by the end of 2019 after some payments were made but the mount has increased due to accrue bills from some government departments.
“Efforts were made to install pre-paid meters in order to reduce the burden of accumulative water bills but the effort has not covered all departments. Install of such meters at office was costing water boards a whipped K120, 000 per while for domestic use is only K40, 000 per meter. Boards are spending more on the exercise but they are still failing to recover their monies,” Ngwira explained.
He added government owes Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) K8.5 billion, Northern Region Water Board (NRWB) K 4 billion, Central Region Water Board (CRWB) K3.9 billion, Blantyre Water Board (BWB) K 4.5 billion and Southern Region Water Board (SRWB) K 9.1 billion in water bills.
Executive Secretary pointed out that the non-payment of the bills was making the Water Utility Boards fail to implement a number of projects relating water supply.
“Boards are struggling financially to make new water connection to their customers and extend their water supplies to other areas within their operating zones. We wish government to encourage the department to settle their water bills in time but utilizing their monthly budgetary allocations to pay their bills,” he said.
WES Network National Coordinator, Willies Mwandira has appealed to government to make sure it leads by example in ensuring that it honours all the bills it owes to the Water Boards.
He said lack of sense of urgency to settle all unpaid bills should come up with support packages for the Water Boards to enable them fulfill their obligations of providing potable water to Malawians during this time of Covid-19 pandemic.
BWB has introduced a promotion where connection fee has been reduced from K 50,000 to K 15, 00 up June 30, 2020 as part of the Covid-19 fight initiatives.