CoW tables its 2015/16 financial year budget

01 Jul 2015 10:10am
WINDHOEK, 1 JUL (NAMPA) – The City of Windhoek on Tuesday tabled its budget estimate of N.dollars 4.04 billion for 2015/2016 financial year.
Tabling the budget estimate during the CoW’s monthly council meeting, chairperson of the CoW's Management Committee, Moses Shiikwa described the budget as ‘pro poor’ and considerate of the plight of the communities.
The Cow’s capital budget amounts to N.dollars 383 million and the operational budget to N.dollars 3.66 billion.
“I must appeal for your understanding on the fact that in as much as we would have liked to include all the requested capital development projects, we could not do so, simply because of the fact that resources are not enough to provide for all identified needs,” said Shiikwa.
He however, noted that the projects that have been prioritised for the next two financial years will go a long way in providing the much needed services to the communities.
The Councillor explained that the operational budget was compiled under difficult circumstances as the cost of operation is ever escalating, thus the increases by the bulk suppliers has left the CoW with no option, but to propose to the tariff adjustments which are aimed at reducing the budget deficit.
The Cow’s deficit stands at N.dollars 288 million.
Shiikwa explained that the CoW is responsible to buy bulk electricity from the national bulk supplier, NamPower for distribution to individual households and businesses.
He stressed that the municipal electricity annual tariffs adjustments are influenced and depend on electricity increases by NamPower and approval by the national regulator, the Electricity Control Board (ECB).
Thus, Shiikwa said the municipal electricity tariff adjustment of 9.8 per cent is waiting for the ECB’s approval.
This year the bulk electricity supplier, NamPower, informed the council that it has obtained approval of an average increase of 10 per cent.
“It is important to note that when you break down the tariff components, during the low demand season which accounts for nine of the twelve months (September to May), the increase on electricity consumption is 18 per cent while during the high demand season, which accounts for two of the twelve months (June to July), the increase on electricity consumption shall be zero per cent,” he said.
The councillor further noted that the National Energy Fund (NEF)’s tarrif will also increase by six per cent and the ECB tariff by seven per cent, thus the CoW councillors proposed an average increase of 9.8 per cent on electricity tariffs to city residents.
Shiikwa advised all Windhoek residents to save electricity at all times so that excess power is made available for new developments within the city.
He noted that the electricity supply crisis in the region continues to haunt the municipality, derail developmental efforts and put pressure on their ability to deliver sustainable municipal services.
Shiikwa said the CoW continues to participate in national efforts, discussions and forums aimed at finding an amicable solution to the national electricity supply shortage.
The councillor, however, expressed disappointment with the shortage and poor payment of municipal services by some residents.
He said the monthly NamPower bill to the city is on average N.dollars 90 million, and can rise to more than N.dollars 120 million during the winter season.
Shiikwa added that due to low rainfall, the dams supplying water to Windhoek is very low, with the current water in the three dams equating to 37 million cubic metres, compared to 71 million cubic metres of last year.
The three dams are the Omatako, Von Bach and Swakoppoort dams.
He said the national utility, NamWater, has introduced a water use strategy whereby, the city needs to realise a water saving of 10 per cent to ensure the current water supplies will last until the next rain season.
The city will have to adjust to a 15 per cent increase in Namwater tariffs that will come into effect on 1 July 2015.
Shiikwa said the increase was necessitated by the long overdue upgrading of the pumping capacity between Von Bach Dam and Windhoek to cope with the increased demand of water in the city, which places a heavy burden on the resources of the city.
He noted that the water account of the city is run on cost recovery principles, and an increase in bulk water tariffs, can only be recovered from the end user, through the raising of tariffs by the city.
The councillor said these water tariffs have become increasingly expensive and unaffordable to many within the municipal boundaries.
“We appeal that prior to the approval of NamPower and NamWater electricity and water tariff increases, broader consultation with local authorities and relevant stakeholders should be made. I must further mention that, it is a painful decision for us as local authorities, to pass on these tariff increases on water and electricity to our residents, most of whom cannot afford. Hence our repeated appeal for a national intervention in order to control and harmonize the burden of water and electricity tariff increases on our residents,” Shiikwa pleaded.