Wednesday, May 9, 2012


The failure of the NRM Government to meet its debt obligations is most unfortunate. In some past budget speeches, Ministers of Finance have insisted that there should be no arrears, but why are Government accounting officers unable to ensure that this is made the practice. The story below of how debts owed to National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC)are negatively affecting its operations is simply sad. Is Government in the process of crippling NWSC so that it has a good case to see it privatized? NRM should do serious business that being a mere bad manager. William Kituuka Kiwanuka NWSC is grappling with a problem of water shortage that has compelled the corporation to ration the resource. In January 2012, a briefing statement on the crisis was sent to President Yoweri Museveni, The Independent learnt. “The current water supply capacity of the water treatment facilities have been outstripped by demand,” the briefing notes. It explained how the current dry spell has worsened an old problem. According to the briefing to the President, the current NWSC water demand is estimated to be over 210,000 cubic metres per day (m3/day) yet the current practical water supply production capacity is 180,000 m3/day. This water is the capacity of the three Water Treatment Plants located in Ggaba that pump to booster stations.
NWSC top officials admitted to The Independent that the institution has cash flow problems mainly because of bad debtors. Government institutions are the biggest debtors with their debt standing at Shs 15 billion or 36 percent of the institutions debt that by Dec.12 last year stood at Shs 46 billion, according to minutes of a recent board meeting. A document entitled “Notice to Disconnect Water Supply to Government Ministries and Departments Due To Outstanding Unpaid Water Bills, lists Mulago Hospital with over Shs 6 billion as the biggest debtor followed by Uganda Prisons at Shs 4.5 billion and Uganda Police at Shs 2.8 billion on a list of 14. These were supposed to be disconnected by Feb.10. The government debt alone would be enough to clear the corporation’s Shs. 9.2 billion pending obligations to creditors and leave it with a staggering Shs.6bn to run its operations.

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