03 Feb 2016 17:40pm
KATIMA MULILO, 03 FEB (NAMPA) Government ministries in this town are without running water, and the taps and reservoir of the Katima Mulilo State Hospital could run dry by the end of Wednesday this week.
This follows after the Katima Mulilo Town Council (KMTC) cut the water supply to Government buildings, including the hospital, due to incurred high debts dating from 2015.
In an interview with Nampa on Wednesday, town council chief executive officer, Charles Nawa, said the Ministry of Works and Transport tops the list of debtors with arrears of N.dollars 3.8 million.
He said the Katima Mulilo State Hospital, which falls under the Ministry of Health and Social Services, has a debt of N.dollars 800 000, that must be paid in full for the water to be restored.
Nawa also pointed out that the KMTCs water technical department has locked the water meters of the Katima Mulilo Police Station, which is sitting with a debt of N.dollars 288 000, including the Ministry of Agricultures forestry directorate with arrears of N.dollars 400 000.
Also on the list of culprits in arrears is the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service, whose sports complex acquired a debt of N.dollars 170 000 between December 2015 and January 2016.
We have been warning and sending letters to these ministries for some time now, but our demands have fallen on deaf ears. Currently, these particular ministries are sending back money to Treasury but ignore to pay the debts they have incurred, said Nawa.
He added that business complexes within Katima Mulilo owe a combined N.dollars 16 million, and that no single resident of the Chotto informal settlement, who is connected to a water meter, has honoured to pay their rates and taxes.
The water at the Katima Mulilo Open Market, which is outsourced by the council, also had its taps locked.
The town council will exercise strictness when it comes to restoring the water. We are not victimising businesspeople, residents of ministries, but are aiming to get them to pay up and honour their rates and taxes bills, said Nawa.
He informed Nampa that this exercise follows after town council started finding it difficult to do monthly pre-paid purchases of N.dollars 1.2 million to buy water from NamWater.
Since the introduction of the prepaid systems with NamWater, the council uses between N.dollars 400 000 to N.dollars 1.2 million to buy water for the town residents to use. It hurts to see carwash businesses waste fresh water to clean and wash vehicles.
Currently, the council has an outstanding bill of N.dollars 24 million with NamWater. This bill was incurred during the 2002 to 2007 financial year, when the amount had soared to N.dollars 49 million.
However, Nawa said repayments to settle this bill has been done on a monthly basis of between N.dollars 400 000 to N.dollars 800 000.
We have not defaulted on payments to settle the debt. This is why the town is no longer experiencing water cuts. The recent water cut was due to technical issues but that was rectified within a short time frame, he said.
The cutting of water exercise started Wednesday and is expected to roll over into the next week.