The Northern Region Water Board (NRWB) has recovered K600 million from the K1.1 billion debt that the private sector owed it through its Rapid Results Approach (RRA) initiative.
Although the board does not want to disclose how much government owes it, a highly-placed source at NRWB confided in Weekend Nation that government institutions owed it over K1 billion in unpaid water bills.
In October last year, NRWB introduced two initiatives, the RRA and Chipopoma cha Kawiruwiru to reduce the debt and also improve the institution’s efficiency.
The RRA is a system for registering tangible results in key result areas by breaking long-term targets into 100-day milestones.
On the other hand, Chipopoma aims to improve performance in key areas, including sales growth, profitability, non-revenue water and customer service by encouraging competition among zones and schemes.
Speaking in an interview, NRWBs chief financial officer Francis Munthali said the response from the public has been overwhelming.
“We have done very well and if we continue like that, it means the board will have resources at its disposal to do many programmes. Our target was to reduce the data days from 70 to 45, and we have achieved that.
“We collected well over K600 million over this period, and what is remaining with private customers is about K500 million which is within manageable levels for the board,” he said.
While confirming that public institutions also owe the board, Munthali was non-committal to disclose the figures.
However, a reliable source at the board said public institutions owe NRWB over K1 billion.
Said the source: “Government owes the board a lot, over K1 billion, but nobody can come out to mention this figure for fear of reprisals.”
In a separate interview, NRWB chief executive officer Titus Mtegha said they were working with Treasury to sort out the public institutions’ debt.
“Government is owing us, but we have a different approach with it. We have agreed that the Ministry of Finance and all the consuming institutions, we have set targets, so that those targets could be reviewed and see how they can assist.
“Let me confirm that from July 2017, government has started paying arrears. In the long-term, we have also agreed with government that we should put pre-paid meters in these institutions, in that way, we will make sure that these institutions are paying.”
Established by the Water Works Act No. 17 of 1995, NRWB focuses at providing essential services that support growth and economic development in the Northern Region. n