WUC Overwhelmed – PS

| June 1, 2015

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources (MEWR), Mr Kgomotso Abi, has admitted that Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) was failed by the new mandate to be solely in charge of water throughout the country.

Mr Abi told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), on May 28 ,that the takeover of running water services countrywide by the organisation that was originally operating in urban centres had been a major setback to the corporation.

He added that the takeover brought about a lot of liabilities, without any committed revenue to cushion the corporation.

Also, he said there had been failure to recognise that when councils and the department of water affairs were running water affairs were managing water at district level, there were certain subsidies that the corporation was getting and that once all services were taken over by WUC, they ceased.

He said the water affairs was paying lots of money for bulk water to supply to greater Gaborone and that the level of revenue that the corporation was getting was very high.

Furthermore, he indicated that bowsing of water to remote areas was also a problem as there was no committed revenue to do such. He said in terms of the ability to raise their own funding, the corporation’s balance sheets had been greatly affected.

“At some point the corporation was unable to pay their own salaries. We should have seen how we continue setting subsidies so that even when WUC takes over, the subsidies continue to sustain the corporation,” he said.

Mr Abi said WUC was also failing the nation because of water losses that were above 50 per cent in some of the areas due to dilapidated infrastructure.

“WUC does not have the financial muscle to address problems of water resources and we are currently working on a proposal to submit to the cabinet and eventually to Parliament as an urgent matter,” he said.

With regards to mining, Mr Abi said contract mining was a common practice worldwide as it addressed issues of mining company overheads by outsourcing risks.

That came after MP for the mining town of Jwaneng, Mr Shaun Ntlhaile pointed out that there was exploitation of Batswana by mining companies outsourced by mines as they only employed non-citizens at the expense of Batswana.

Thus, Mr Ntlhaile urged the ministry to closely monitor employment by the sub-contracted companies at the mines, arguing that they brought their own people, hence worsened unemployment challenges in the country.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Governance

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