KAMPALA: National Water and Sewerage Cooperation (NWSC) and government have achieved a breakthrough, in their negotiations to restore water connection to key health centers.
Water connection in key government hospitals like Entebbe Regional Referral Hospital, China Friendship Hospital in Naguru and Hoima Regional Referral Hospital was severed on May 5th by NWSC over non payment of bills.
Officials from NWSC raised an alarm, after these health facilities accumulated worrying huge unpaid water bills, making it hard for the agency to extend water supply to other areas of the country, chiefly new cities.
The decision to disconnect water supply from these hospitals was therefore looked at as a disciplinary action for defaulting.
The Managing Director of NWSC, Eng. Silver Mugisha said a breakthrough was achieved with government, following a meeting on June 6th at the office of the Prime Minister, which was presided over by Rt. Hon. Robinah Nabbanja and attended by key figure heads from government departments, ministries and agencies.
Among those who attended was Minister of Health Hon. Jane Ruth Aceng, Minister of Water and Environment Hon. Sam Cheptoris, Permanent Secretary in the Finance Ministry Mr. Ramathan Ggoobi and others, after which it was resolved that these arrears be paid by the end of July 2023.
Eng. Mugisha pledged that reconnection will be implemented immediately and warned of serious reprisals if resolutions reached at in the closed door meeting are not actualized.
Note has to be taken that these health facilities owe NWSC gigantic funds surpassing UGX. 2 billion, and to that effect, disconnection was a counter measure to corner authorities and force them to clear the bills.
Shocking information released by NWSC casts mad on the reputation of the runners of these facilities due to relentless defaulting. China Friendship Hospital in Naguru alone is demanded huge monies to a tune of UGX. 2.6 billion, while Entebbe Referral Hospital has unpaid water bills of UGX. 488m.
NWSC has sternly warned the Ministry of Health to clear bills of other health facilities being demanded, or else face serious retribution, which is a non negotiable disconnection.
Since 2020, Referral Hospitals in Gulu, Arua and Nebbi have cemented their reputations of notoriety due to relentless defaulting of water bills, owing NWSC UGX.656 million, UGX.242 million and UGX. 794 million respectively.
Earlier this year, Leader of Opposition in Parliament (LOP) Hon. Mathias Mpuuga Nsamba tabled to the house, a list of government agencies and departments who have earned themselves notoriety because of defaulting water bills.
Hon. Mpuuga called for investigations into the use of funds annually allocated to these agencies by Parliament to clear utility bills, wondering where these monies disappear to, attributing this to corruption and brazen mismanagement of public funds.
“Officials from National Water say they are finding it hard to expand water supply and provision in new cities like Masaka because government agencies have not cleared their water bills, yet these agencies use large quantities and water, accumulating huge bills”
Uganda Police is among the government agencies that have tasted the wrath of NWSC, when the water distributor cut-off water supply in several barracks and stations in Jan 2021 due to defaulting.