The Northern Region Water Board (NRWB) has revealed that some individual customers owe it over K1 billion for unpaid water bills which have accumulated between May and July this year.
The board has been adhering to the government’s order not to disconnect water to people who had bills as a relief due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking in an interview, NRWB Chief Executive Officer, Titus Mtegha, said government institutions owed the board close to K4 billion in unpaid bills as of June this year.
Mtegha said government institutions last paid their bills in 2014.
“This new government has directed us to put prepared metres in all government institutions so that we minimise the accumulated debts. The institutions, including individuals that have prepaid metres will also be required to repay their debts when buying water,” Mtegha said.
Meanwhile, the board has installed over 5,000 prepared metres.
It is expected that by September end this year, the board will install over 20,000 prepaid metres, out of its 70, 000 customers.
The board’s plan, according to Mtegha, is that all individuals should repay their debts within two years.
But Malawi Polytechnic economic expert, Betchani Tcheleni, said the debt will not only affect the board’s revenue stream but also that of the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA).
“The board’s operations will be crippled because the same money is supposed to be used for further upgrading system and other infrastructure. MRA will also be affected because they have not collected the revenue which is used for national development,”
The board has then said the projects of constructing water supply in Nkhata Bay and Karonga districts will commence this year.