Government agencies owe SRWB K8.1 billion. – Capital Radio Malawi
19 April, 2024

Government agencies owe SRWB K8.1 billion.

An 8.1-billion-kwacha debt owed by various government departments is choking the operations of the Southern Region Water Board (SRWB).

Officials of the utility service provider confirmed this during a recent  inspection tour of the Mangochi Portable Water Supply Project by Parliament’s Natural Resources and Climate Change Services Committee.

Among the departments on the debtors’ list are the Malawi Defence Force at 7.4 million kwacha, the Malawi Police Service at 600 million kwacha, State House at 67 million and various health facilities at 25 million kwacha.

According to the committee’s chairperson Werani Chilenga, this is putting a financial strain on the operations of the water institution, hence the need for government to act swiftly on the matter.

“For Southern Region Water Board to perform very effectively and make sure that this project benefits Malawians to the fullest, government needs to support the Southern Region Water Board very effectively,” Chilenga said.

Such concerns are also coming at a time SRWB and her sister companies are lobbying for governments approval of a tariff hike.

“The other disappointing thing is that for SRWB only government is owing them 8.1 billion kwacha. So government is not increasing the tariffs, so how does SRWB operate like this? Even if they have good projects, it may not be as effective as it is supposed to be because they are not getting support from government because in as far as we know, government institutions are the biggest customers for SRWB and other waters boards in this country,” Chilenga explained.

Duncan Chimbamba, Chief Executive Officer of the Southern Region Water Board – SRWB disclosed that this is choking the operations of the Board.

“We have not been able to pay our suppliers, we are struggling a lot, our cashflow is just so bad. If we are surviving it’s just from collections, we are collecting from individuals.

Some suppliers are even thinking of taking us to court to get their money from us. Even for us for pay our members of staff is not easy,” outlined Chambamba.

Chambamba also told a parliamentary cluster on Agriculture and Natural Resources that they are even making looses, with an anticipated 1 billion kwacha loss for the just ended 2022 financial year.

Meanwhile, the water supplier is still hopeful of expanding its revenue streams when the Nkhudzi water project is completed.

Members of the parliamentary committee listening to a presentation by Ching’amba

The portable water project will see tap water connections in Mangochi and surrounding areas, hence increasing the board’s customer base.

 According to SRWB’s site engineer Mussa Ching’amba construction works are at 83 % completion rate.

According to Ching’amba, much of the construction works are finalized.

“We have two tanks; one tank is completed another one is at 70%. We are only remaining with about 10kilometer pipeline out of the 80 kilometers.

The only works that are remaining are mainly electromechanics works. This includes installation of pumps, the intake structure. Mainly the major part of these works is procurement which is in process; once the material are on site, installation will only take approximately three to four weeks,” Chinga’amba outlined.

The water project which is expected to assist over 90 000 households.

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