Councils owe NamWater N$470m

20 October 2020 | Local News

OGONE TLHAGE



WINDHOEK

Bulk water supplier NamWater is owed a whopping N$470 million by local authorities across the country, which includes a debt of N$92.9 million that was incurred during the Covid-19 state of emergency period from April to August.

This was confirmed by NamWater financial manager Fernando Somaeb.

“The total for the year to date, April 2020 to August 2020, owed for the current financial year is N$92.9 million. This must be added on top of historic debt owed as at March 2020 of N$377 million,” Somaeb said.

According to Somaeb, the company has been engaging with the ministry of urban and rural development and the agriculture ministry to address the debt through subsidy interventions.

‘No disconnections’

The ministry of urban and rural development had issued a directive that no water disconnections would occur during the state of emergency, which was instituted in March and lapsed in September.

This was to ensure that residents had water as a means to fight the spread of Covid-19.

Residents of various local authorities were, however, encouraged to continue settling their accounts.

Prepaid water meters

As an intervention, NamWater was looking at the blanket roll-out of prepaid water meters, which Somaeb said would help rein in runaway debt.

“From the company’s point of view, we have adopted a deliberate strategy to get all customers on the prepaid meter systems, which is in the executing phase. This will help address the debt situation. The prepayment will encourage customers to pay towards historic debt,” he said.

NamWater CEO Abraham Nehemia had previously said the company did not want to become dependent on government for bailouts to continue carrying out its services.

“If we were able to recover all the costs based on water we’ve supplied, NamWater should really be a company able to carry out its tasks without problems,” he said in March.

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