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Parliament passes K11.2bn water bill

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Parliament on Tuesday authorised government to borrow K11.2 billion from the European Investment Bank (EIB) which will be used to finance Lilongwe Water Board’s Resources Efficiency Programme.

Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe told Parliament that the programme seeks to increase the overall efficiency of water demand in the city.

“The programme comprises three components; water demand maintenance which will support improvement and billing system, installation of district areas data system, improvement of service to low-income areas and construction of 100 kiosks which will be located in the remote areas,” he said.

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Gondwe further said the World Bank will fund 50 percent of the programme while EIB will finance the remaining 50 percent.

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) spokesperson on finance Joseph Njovuyalema said borrowing is not a bad idea but was quick to caution government to use the loan appropriately.

“[Although] the bill lacks information, as MCP we support it and it is our hope that when the money is given, government will use it according to the components that have been highlighted in the Bill,” he said.

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Lilongwe Water Board Chief Executive Officer Alfonso Chikuni commended Parliament for passing the bill, saying it will help the board in collecting revenue mainly from government departments, individuals and other institutions that do not pay their water bills.

“One of the components in the bill is the issue of prepared metering. This will help to ensure availability of water at all times and also tracking of payments because one will be able to access water upon having a prepared card. In addition, this bill will help us improve on the efficiency of water distribution and meet the growing demand,” he said.

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