The National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) has asked Parliament to intervene and urge government entities to clear outstanding water bills currently standing at Shs70 billion.
The corporation’s Managing Director, Silver Mugisha said he was specifically concerned with the Ministry of Defense and Veteran Affairs which has bills ofShs27.5 billion, Uganda Police at Shs23.4 billion and Uganda Prisons Service with a debt of Shs11.8 billion.
“The request we put to you as a committee is to impress it upon government institutions especially Prisons, Police and the Defense Ministry to budget for all their water consumption. They have the discretion that they rather budget for travels and the rest but budget less for water,” said Mugisha.
Mugisha said that government entities were accustomed to budgeting less for water bills and asked MPs to ensure that the next budget caters for all water arrears.
Mugisha said this as he appeared before the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) on Wednesday, 05 April 2023.
Mugisha said NWSC had agreed with the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development to budget for Shs43 billion which would be cleared in the next three years.
MPs were displeased to learn that the corporation which has been accused for paying poor salaries, has a big portion of its income in debts.
“These are billions of shillings; it is unaccepted yet you continue to provide services. What are you doing as National Water to recover this money?” the Committee Chairperson, Hon. Joel Ssenyonyi asked.
Igara West MP, Hon. Gaffa Mbwatekamwa said it is shocking that the Ministry of Defence is among the big debtors yet it is a well-funded institution with a classified budget which can cater for bills.
Mbwatekamwa said the defaulting entities were deliberate in not clearing their water bills cognizant of the fact that Parliament annually appropriates money for utilities.
MPs asked Mugisha to provide a list of all public and private institutions which have accumulated bills. “Give us an analysis of how long an individual entity has not been paying and how big the figure is. We want to look at figures which we can enforce and where we can have influence,” said Hon. Roland Ndyomugyenyi (Indep., Rukiga County).