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Crippled ZINWA Owed $2, 4bn, Stalls Drilling 35 000 Water Holes




BY STAFF REPORTER

MILLIONS of people in rural communities are deprived of their basic right 

to clean and safe water after the Zimbabwe National Water Authority 

(ZINWA), owed over ZW$2, 4 billion, shelved drilling of 35 000 boreholes 

due to lack of funds.

The quasi-governmental organisation is facing a liquidity crunch on the 

back of non-payment of water bills by government institutions, departments 

and local authorities, who owe a cumulative ZW$2, 4 billion.

Through a statement issued last week, the parent ministry of Lands, 

Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement, said efforts to 

rehabilitate damaged infrastructure as well as expansion of water provision 

services, were put on ice at 41 rural service centres targeted for 

completion before year-end.

Reads part of the statement, "The non-payment of bills has affected ZINWA's 

capacity to deliver its mandate, including the drilling of 35 000 boreholes 

for marginalised rural communities, to support the transformative 

Presidential Rural Horticultural Programme and improve access to clean safe 

water by these communities. This had denied millions of rural communities 

their basic right to water.

"ZINWA water supply services rehabilitation and expansion drive has also 

stalled for 41 rural service centres which are targeted to be completed 

before 2021 ends."

The major ZINWA debtors are government institutions in all provinces, 

constituting 42% while town councils account for 22% of the ballooning debt.

Defiant debtors include ministries of Defence, Public Works, Youth, Public 

Service, Higher Education, while named errant councils are Beitbridge and 

Gwanda.

The Office of President and Cabinet (OPC), TelOne, Zimbabwe National Parks 

and Wildlife Management ( Zimparks), National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), 

police and prisons, all recently presented payment plans after a water 

supply disconnection blitz.

Supplies have since been restored at all premises after intervention by 

President Emmerson Mnangagwa's office, which reportedly arm-twisted ZINWA 

to backtrack and issue an apology.

"At the outset, the Minister and Ministry would like to apologise for the 

inconveniences suffered by various water consumers throughout the country 

as a result of the inevitable disruption due to perennial non-payment for 

water by some consumers.

"Water supply has been restored at all institutions at these disconnected 

premises during the past week after payment and/or submission of credible 

payment plans. All government institutions and departments have been 

reconnected against a commitment from Ministry of Finance and Economic 

Development to pay a total of ZW$350 million immediately."

As at 30 July 2021, ZINWA was owed ZW$2, 4 billion by institutions that 

continue to receive potable water supply services from the parastatal, 

albeit with many continuing to default on their payments. The debt has 

massively impacted on the operational effectiveness and efficiency of the 

water supplier.

The continued non-servicing of the debts has resultantly crippled the 

parastatal which has made recommendations to government, including takeover 

of water supply and billing in two councils, Beitbridge and Gwanda.

Beitbridge has pledged to pay $20 million each week to offset the debt, 

while Gwanda pledged on a $5 million monthly payment.

ZINWA's monthly obligations are pegged at $643 million against collections 

of $200 million, with major cost drivers being water treatment chemicals, 

infrastructure repairs, fuel, electricity and salaries.

Water supply services are provided on a self-financing basis, and there is 

no direct funding from central government for operation and maintenance.




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