Budget and Finance Committee of parliament has angrily told the government to pay up K2 billion in bills it owes Northern Region Water Board instead of using money to buy votes in preparation for the 2019 polls.
Chairman of the committee Rhino Chiphiko said this on Wednesday when officials from the board met the committee to brief it on projects undertaken by the board and the need to take a loan from OPEC Fund to improve water and sanitation situation in Karonga and Nkhata Bay.
Board executive director Titus Mtegha said operations of the board are crippled by financial problems as government entities owe the board over K2 billion in water bills.
Chiphiko has told the government to pay up the money so that the board can operate efficiently and effectively.
He said top government officials were busy criss-crossing the country, canvassing and buying votes when they cannot pay utility bills.
Chiphiko said the committee could not recommend more loans, saying the country has a staggering K1 trillion loans with international bodies and feared the government would not be able to repay.
“We cannot therefore be comfortable to approve this OPEC loan. The government has a huge debt which it needs to repay first,” said Chiphiko.
However, Mtegha said the loan was for the benefit of ordinary people in Karonga and Nkhata Bay, which he said are now growing towns but faced with acute water and sanitation problems.