27 Apr 2017 17:40pm
WINDHOEK, 27 APR (NAMPA) The Katima Mulilo Town Council (KMTC) could make huge losses from a high quantity of water meters purchased before 2013 which were never used and have since depreciated in value.
The town council told a Standing Committee on Public Accounts and Economy of the National Council during a public hearing on Thursday that it intended to install the undisclosed number of water meters in households in the Cowboy, Mahohoma and Choto settlements in that town as a debt control measure.
The council had to explain why water meters purchased in large quantities was never utilised, and why there were no inventories for storage materials reflected in the financial statements provided to the Office of the Auditor-General (OAG) for the financial year ending 30 June 2013.
The committee also questioned why the water meters were stored in corrugated iron sheet structures and exposed to harsh weather conditions since 2012, causing them to depreciate in value which meant that tax payers money was wasted as the meters would have to be written off.
Acting CEO of the KMTC, Lifasi Lilungwe said the water meters were kept in the corrugated iron sheet structure because a storage room was still under construction in 2013 and was only completed in 2014.
However, Office of the AG indicated that the pile of water meters were stored in the same place until 2015.
Lilungwe added that the water meters that were still in good state would be installed, while those that depreciated in value would be written off.
He added that the lack of stock control by the council was due to negligence, stating that the staff that was responsible for the department lacked leadership, whilst those who acted in supervisory positions either left or were suspended.
According to the OAGs report, a slight reduction was also observed in bad debts by the council between 2012 and 2013.
The councils bad debt decreased by 21 per cent from N.dollars 57 568 458 in 2012 to N.dollars 45 357 216.
Lilungwe added that the municipality has also considered replacing demand meters with prepaid meters, in addition implementing credit policies and taking legal action against debt defaulters to reduce its consumer accounts debt.
We have purchased 200 pre-paid meters so far and have installed them for shack-dwellers and it is working already. We wont put the pre-paid meters for free, there is a charge, he said.
The OAG, however, suggested that instead of replacing all the demand meters, the town council should continue to install them for businesses and ministries; while installing the pre-paid meters for pensioners, vulnerable persons and more problematic debtors to control their debt.