Malawi government ministries, departments and agencies owe various water boards in the country a lot of money in unpaid water bills, which has negatively affected their operations, Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa has said.
Nankhumwa made the concession on Friday, September 20, 2019 when he toured the Southern Region Water Board (SRWB) headquarters in Zomba and SRWB Water Treatment Plant and Mulunguzi Dam on the Zomba Mountain.
“The reason for my coming here was to appreciate their (SRWB) operations. Government has made it a point that it would want to push more resources in the water sector to ensure Malawians at all levels have access to clean and potable water.
“Government through Parliament has passed Bills to facilitate implementation of various water supply projects like in Balaka, Mangochi, Blantyre and several other parts of the country.
“We have already done a lot in the northern region where almost in every district, there is clean and potable water through various projects. So I came here to see how they faring as water board and I am impressed by the high levels of commitment and hard work by the management and staff of SRWB,” said Nankhumwa.
Nankhumwa said after visiting Blantyre Water Board the previous day and SRWB on Friday, he observed that water boards share a common critical challenge, which is that some clients, especially ministries, departments and agencies are not paying water bills to these boards.
But Nankhumwa said they will “sit down” and see how best this problem could be solved “because once we give them that money government owes these water boards, then we shall have a very effective system of water boards in this country.”
He cited hospitals, army barracks and the police as some of the big defaulters.
Nankhumwa, who is also Leader of Government Business in Parliament, reiterated that his ministry will engage all ministries, departments and agencies on one hand and the Ministry of Finance on the other to see how best huge outstanding bills could be paid “as soon as possible”.
Led by SRWB CEO, James Chitete, top management held closed door discussions with the minister.
Chitete said they briefed the minister on the various challenges the board is facing, which affect their daily operations but also outlined some of the major achievements made so far as well as opportunities that lie ahead.
SRWB was established as a body corporate under the Waterworks Act no. 17 of 1995. The Board took over infrastructure from the then District Water Supply Fund of the Ministry of Works, Supplies and Water Supply in the region.
According to Chitete, SRWB’s important objective is to supply quality and safe water to urban and peri-urban areas of the Southern Region with the exception of City of Blantyre.
“The Board has 25 supply areas subdivided into five zones of Zomba, (Zomba, Mwanza, Chiradzulu, Namadzi, Ku-chawe, Domasi, Neno); Liwonde (Liwonde, Balaka, Machinga); Mangochi (Mangochi, Monkey Bay, Namwera); Mulanje (Mulanje, Thyolo, Luchenza, Muloza, Phalombe, Mikolongwe, MUST); and Ngabu (Ngabu, Nsanje, Bangula, Nchalo and Chikwawa). The Board has over 50,000 customers across the region,” said the CEO.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :