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Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Parastatal Madness, 17th Edition

Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company (LWSC) is among the long line of parastatals that have been crippled by Government debt. The company revealed recently that Government owes it a staggering K56 billion in unpaid bills. Perhaps the problem does not lie with Government because we are told, "the company has been receiving funding from the World Bank, Japanese International Cooperation Agency, the United Kingdom Aid and Australia Aid". So foreign donors are giving money to LWSC, which ends up as unpaid bills indirectly to Government. 

LWSC is not alone of course. Last year, the Southern Province Minister proudly announced that he had ordered Southern Water and Sewerage Company (SWASCO) to reconnect water to all prisons in the region, which were disconnected over K160 million unpaid bills : "Three weeks ago in the prisons, water was disconnected over K160 million bill. Can we kill people? Some people are in prisons by implication. Yesterday, I ordered SWASCO to connect water immediately so we remain to sort out the money issue". The failure to pay parastatals the debt owed to them is one of the main reasons for their under-performance, as any careful reading of any Auditor General's Report on parastatal would reveal. 

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