ZINWA owed $256 billion in unpaid bills

Precious Manomano Herald Reporter

The Zimbabwe National Water Authority(ZINWA) is owed more than $256 billion in unpaid water bills by various consumers, a development that has seriously compromised the authority’s capacity to provide sustainable service.

This situation has adversely affected ZINWA’s ability to efficiently execute its mandate as the authority needs critical inputs such as electricity, fuel, water treatment chemicals and spares required for uninterrupted service delivery.

In a statement, ZINWA Corporate Communications and Marketing Manager, Mrs Marjorie Munyonga indicated that as of January 31, 2024, various consumer categories owed ZINWA a total of $256 012 566 418.28 in unpaid bills with some bills being outstanding for periods as long as four months.

“Of this amount, domestic clients owe a total of $29 836 260 276 while Government ministries and departments account for the biggest chunk of the debtors’ book at $132 481 369 619. Irrigating farmers are the authority’s second largest debtor, owing $ 53 765 173 087 followed by local authorities whose debt stands at $16 152 616 447.

Mines owe a total of $7 988 101 782.14 while parastatals account for $ 6 215 575 906.75,” read the statement.

Mrs Munyonga also indicated that the non-payment of water bills by these clients has severely compromised ZINWA’s capacity to provide service to meet its obligations to its suppliers and settle statutory obligations such as taxes.

She said this has also militated against the authority’s efforts to help stop the spread of the current cholera outbreak through the provision of reliable service.

To curb the further growth of the debtors’ book and to ensure continued service, ZINWA has instituted a raft of measures to recover the outstanding amounts through engaging defaulting clients, taking legal action against some clients and as a last resort, disconnecting those in arrears.

ZINWA is also encouraging clients who may have difficulties settling their water bills to approach their nearest offices and present acceptable payment plans.

Given the current drought situation, the authority will not be disconnecting irrigating farmers but is working with farmer representative organisations to ensure that the farmers utilize stop-order arrangements that allow ZINWA to recover its revenue when farmers sell their produce.

The authority is therefore appealing to all irrigating farmers to ensure that their water use is in terms of valid water abstraction agreements and that they take advantage of the existing stop order arrangements.

ZINWA reiterates that there is a correlation between paying for water and service delivery. When users and recipients of services do not pay, it becomes extremely difficult for utilities to provide reliable and sustainable services.

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