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Wednesday, 12 August 2009

No to water competition?

NWASCO yesterday came out strongly against greater competition in the water sector, expressing fear that "that the coming up of more companies in the water industry was likely to compromise the quality as well as the service delivery of the commodity". How can competition lead to more expensive provision and cheap quality when we have a Water Regulator in the market? In the meantime "without competition", the water remains poor and funded by donor aid. I think NWASCO are confusing "more competition" with "no-regulation". Presumably NWASCO are content for Zambia to continue relying on 95% of aid funding for water? I am sure there's a point they are trying to communicate, but really they need to articulate the issues better. A good start for understanding our current water challenges can be found here :

Competition in water sector not health, NWASCO

Lusaka, August 12, 2009 : ZANIS The National Water and Sanitation Company (NWASCO) says opening up the water sector to competition could undermine the accessibility of the commodity by the poor in the country. NWASCO Public Relations Officer (PRO) Rose Tembo says encouraging competition in the industry would lead to high pricing of the commodity and would ultimately make it difficult for the poor in society to access the commodity.

Ms Tembo further expressed fear that the coming up of more companies in the water industry was likely to compromise the quality as well as the service delivery of the commodity. She was speaking in an interview with ZANIS in Lusaka today.

Ms Tembo noted that it was Government's mandate to provide safe and quality water to all its citizens icluding the poor. She said research conducted on the subject matter has revealed that allowing more companies into the water sector was likely to create difficulties in the accessibility of clean and safe drinking water by the public. Ms. Tembo said water is a social good necessary for human survivor and as such should never be made open for competition.

She said lessons should be learnt from countries like Mozambique where citizens were subjected to low quality and poor service delivery but high pricing of the commodity as a result of their Government's decision to open up the water sector to competition. She said Government has at the moment no plans of opening up the water industry to competition because of the duty it has to the people in the country to provide them with quality water at a minimal cost.

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