KAMPALA: The Uganda police, prisons, and ministry of Defense are set to be disconnected from water supply by the National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) over failure to clear Shs 19 billion arrears.
NWSC managing director Dr Eng Silver Mugisha said all government institutions that have accumulated domestic arrears over and above the discount invoicing threshold approved by the ministry of Finance will be disconnected with immediate effect after they failed to heed the permanent secretary and secretary to the treasury directive to consider water bills as the first call on quarterly releases.
“Management has taken a painful decision to implement a strict disconnection strategy for all outstanding arrears of more than one month, with immediate effect,” Mugisha said.
“We pay for power, chemicals, repair materials among other production inputs for every cubic meter of water supplied to customers. The providers of the production inputs need money to continue supplying us. We, therefore, urge customers to pay their water bills from as low as Shs 5,000 and below,” he added.
NWSC had previously agreed with the ministry of Finance to budget for Shs 43 billion arrears which would be cleared in the next three years. On suggestions of using prepaid water meters to guard against non-payment of water bills, the NWSC boss said that his administration is open to any innovation that presents cost-benefit advantages to its business conduct.
“Our preliminary assessment of prepaid meter technology is that it is a new innovation for which we don’t have robust successful case studies. Our own case study for low-income and ministry accounts has not yielded superior efficiency gains,” said Mugisha.
Quoting a preliminary financial assessment, he said the overall investment cost for the entire NWSC meter replacement operation lies between Shs 800 billion and Shs 1 trillion, an investment that the utility firm isn’t willing to take on, but rather, invests in serving more Ugandans with clean safe water.
Mugisha maintained that NWSC’s current emphasis is to serve those who are not yet served, rather than creating convenience for those already served at a huge opportunity investment cost. Mugisha also informed the media that the corporation had fully recovered from a hacking incident that affected the corporation last year.
“All data lost during the ransomware attack was reconstructed to allow for a full audit by the auditor general,” he said.