Government recently fired the entire management at Chambeshi Water and Sewerage Company. Government has also suspended the company's operating license with immediate effect because of poor service delivery. Housing Minister Emerine Kabanshi announced yesterday. She says government is worried and concerned at the levels of the company's breach of the Water Supply and Sanitation ACT. Ms. KABANSHI said the PF Government will not condone non performing utility companies at the expense of provision of adequate and quality water and sanitation services to the public.
Chambeshi Water and Sewerage Company Limited, is a company allegedly owned by various northern councils. Its principal activity is allegedly "to provide high quality water and improved sewerage services for high standard of living for the population of the districts of Northern Province".
But here is a serious point. The company cannot deliver water because since time immemorial it has been riddled with corruption and poor management. It also frankly has no money. The last audit by the Auditor General concluded it was failing to meet its debt obligations. The bottom line is that this company cannot survive without grants - foreign aid grants passed through the Devolution Trust Funds (DTF), National Water Supply and Sanitation Council (NWASCO) and Ministry of Local Government and Housing.
The bigger problem is that our 11 Commercial Utilities (CUs) providers are all in a deplorable state. They all suffer from the same problems. NWASCO the regulator is also hapless. No one seems to know what to do about the poor water delivery issues facing the country. It had largely been left to the donors to worry about it. Well, may be Ms Kabanshi plans to change things. One thing is clearly firing the management may be the start, it certainly wont be enough to stop the mismanagement. Radical solutions are desperately needed!