CoW owed N$330m by residents

September 7, 2015, 8:24am

CoW owed N$330m by residents

The City of Windhoek is currently owed N$330m by city residents and agencies which have defaulted on municipal bills, The Villager has learnt. CoW Corporate Communications’ Manager, Joshua Amukugo, says the bill has accumulated because of the City’s own inability to be strict with defaulters and other factors such as welfare cases. The City is supposed to collect nearly N$220m a month from residents. “These figures are never constant, as payment levels fluctuate on a daily basis. As per our latest conclusion, money owed to the CoW by residents is currently showing an accurate amount of N$ 485 112 245.78 in total,” Amukugo said. The service accounts are more inclusive of the rental from informal settlement areas, which runs in the range of N$ 110 million. He added that all Windhoek residents as a whole owe the city this amount, including elite residents to the lower class. In a bid to encourage
Trophy-hunting has contributed about N$350 million to the economy in the last financial year, The Villager has learnt. Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, told The Villager that the country also generates an income from other sources, such as private ownerships. The revenue made from the hunting of trophies is shared in half by both the government and conservancies. “Half of the money goes to the community, while the other half goes to the Game Products’ Trust Fund, which is also seen as a government trust fund. What goes to community conservancies is largely used for community developmental programmes,” he explained. The Game Products’ Trust Fund is also meant to aid conservancies and their surrounding communities,
•    Donald Matthys
•    Charmaine Ngatjiheue
residents as well as agencies to pay their outstanding municipal bills, unpaid accounts are then disconnected. “The bigger suburbs will have bigger accounts, but Katutura and the Northwestern Suburbs have more clients, and inherently their accounts will be bigger,” Amukugo said. Residents who engage in debts can cause a reduction in the finances needed for the delivery of basic services, infrastructure, maintenance and upgrading. Amukugo said earlier this year at a media briefing that the huge debt could prompt the need for greater crosssubsidization as it overburdens the existing tax base. At the same briefing, the Strategic Executive for Finance, George Esterhuizen pushed the idea of Government institutions being the biggest culprits accumulating debts to the City off the shelves. He said two institutions which have huge outstanding debts are the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education. The City is looking forward to vigorously collecting all outstanding debts through
CoW Corporate Communications’ Manager Joshua Amukugo
legal means when possible, but short of alienating, they will be forced to sell the immovable properties of those residents who are not paying their dues. They will also engage in creating awareness and use electronic means to collect all outstanding debts. The CoW has a budget estimate of N$4.4 billion for the 2015/2016 financial year. Earlier, they said that other factors considered in the preparation of the budget include the inflation rate of 3%, the prime interest rate of 10%, the unemployment rate in the city of 27%, and increases by bulk suppliers like NamWater with 15%, and NamPower with 9.53%. The City’s monthly electricity bill to the national utility NamPower is close to N$100. City of Windhoek mayor Muesee Kazapua was quoted earlier this year by The Villager as saying that the monthly electricity bill and the national utility could be much higher in the winter season. The municipal electricity tariffs are annually adjusted in line with the increases approved by the Electricity
Control Board (ECB). Kazapua also affirmed the approved electricity tariff increase of 9.53% by the ECB, saying they are informed that in its application, NamPower requested for an effective
bulk tariff increase of 13.20%, an increase from N$1.17 to N$1.32 per kWh (inclusive of generation and transmission), to meet its service delivery costs and for the tariff to remain cost-reflective.
The ECB granted approval of N$1.28 per kWh to allow NamPower to meet its operational costs and fulfil its financial obligations.

By Donald Matthys