State Residences have topped a list of defaulters for outstanding water bills amounting to K518,145, 874,74 that it owes Lilongwe Water Board (LWB).
LWB officials told Nyasa Times that the debt has crippled some of the water utilitiy’s operations and that efforts to get it settled have met stiff resistance from the bureaucrats at State House.
The utility is registering a loss of about K4 billion in non-revenue water usage every year due to aging infrastructure, debts and illegal connections.
The situation has impacted on the institution which, if were to collect the said money would have been able to make profits to enable it rehabilitate and revamp a huge chunk of its old piping system and connect more customers.
LWB Chief Executive Officer, Alfonso Chikuni and Director of finance Silli Mbewe described the loss as huge.
“The loss could have helped us revamp our old piping system which is about 2 000 kilometres. We are trying our best to deal with the problem, but without the support of the residents we will still be facing challenges.
“Our calculations show that 50 percent of water is lost through water waste and when calculated, it is about K2 billion while between K1.2 billion and K2 billion is lost through theft,” Chikuni said.
Mbewe said non-revenue water has two aspects which are physical and commercial losses.
“As a board, we are putting in place several initiatives such as house to house survey helped by the Centre for Social Research and tip-off anonymous platform. We are also working with other security agents to help us get to the bottom of illegal connections,” he said.
Nyasa Times has found out that Kamuzu Palace commonly known as Plot Number one and Mtunthama State Lodge jointly owe LWB K277, 764, 530, 09.
Mtunthama State House account number 0012454 has a bill of K120, 613, 656, 78 while the second account number 0012528 has a bill of K16, 679, 505, 28. New State House meter number Area 44-meter number 0039303 owes Water Board K133, 082, 638.08.
Further investigations have revealed that meter number 0039305, has a bill of K7, 388,729.95 while meter number 0039302 and 0039306 owes the Board K99, 592, 246.20 and K317,729.95 respectively.
State House Press Officer Mgeme Kalilani said: ” I have taken not of those figures however, issues to do with State residences utility bills are administrative issues, the President does not handle bill payments. Such issues are handled by the Controlling Officer for State House and his subordinates in administration. Therefore allow me to check with the administrator if those bills are correct and if yes, then why are they still outstanding”.
But State House Director of Communication Doctor Bright Molande said the bill was in billions saying the current amount owing means that government has been paying.
“The bigger part of the bill has been paid after many years of neglect by different governments. Every account has a history. When you are looking at these figures, judge them in terms of the duration accumulated,” Molande said.
Currently Lilongwe Water Board has embarked on project of installing of pre-paid meters as a way to deal with defaulters. Other defaulters include Kamuzu Central Hospital, Ministry of Local Government, Ministry of Finance and ruling Democratic Progressive Party Headquarters.
Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN) Executive Director Dalitso Kubalasa said hypocrisy by government ministries, departments and agencies is a serious impediment to the operations utility companies in the country.
“This is one of the most important utility companies serving Malawians. How can we expect them to provide better services when they are unable to break even and cover their own production costs? Little wonder it will be the poor and already overburdened Malawians paying for these expenses,” Kubalasa said.
Kubalasa said by tampering with its supply chains the MDAs are seriously conspiring in bringing down the economy along with the Malawians.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :