By Mohammed Taha
It has been a protracted process to appoint the new managing director at National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) but as the English say, later better than never, Silver Mugisha finally took the slot. We must congratulate him for it was not a mean feat and stakeholders in this sector look forward for better services.
My main concern and perhaps the concern of many silent clients with National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) are the exorbitant, punitive costs imposed on usage of sewerage “management services”.
While reviewing water expenses at some institution and as many will find out from their routine water bills payment experience, the cost continues to increase year-in-year-out for sewerage installations connected to, or managed by NWSC!
The assessment system used to derive at such monthly bills for clients on a sewer line am told, in the ‘wisdom’ of recouping sewerage management fees, is done by a mere double multiplication of what would be a real bill against units of water consumed by a given estate.
Besides this punitive method of deriving at the bill, there is double taxation on all water used, for example, if one is meant to pay sh100,000 for the actual units used, he ends up paying sh236,000 on assessment, as derived from 100,000 x 2 +18% of the outcome amount. NWSC automatically adopts this particular method of assessment as long as they establish or sense any forms of sewerage connection at ones premises.
In the world where most bills are digitally generated, this particular method of fees collection irresistibly cheats the client by default or as intended, for example, how does a client with a broken water cistern or an in-house faulty plumbing system without any option of using the sewerage line get exempted from such punitive bills since bills are merely hinged on water generally used?
In the situation where most clients have improvised to private septic tanks probably due to Structural-urban planning deficits and inaccessibility to the main sewer-lines, they use private cesspool-truck services to empty the tanks instead of depending on the MWSC drainage system yet the charges are maintained all that high. One wonders if there is any service delivered commensurate to the extra-sewerage services by NWSC to justify such payments.
Most education institutions must be finding a great burden for such fees, yet by any slight shortage of water due to disconnection, it will always spark students into a strike. For this reason, some institutions are changing to pump gravity water from underneath, but the main risk is that such water is contaminated with acidic effluent, due to abundance of pit latrines (especially in Kampala wetlands) and clogged sewage pipes that dump directly into the water table. The fatal risks involved in the process of constructing to reach the water table in Uganda as a means to cut regular higher costs are also increasing day-by-day.
My plea is that the sewerage bills should be scrapped since water used is in the first place already paid for or if not let the fees be revised downwards; water for any use is not a luxury but a necessity for one to live healthy.
The write is a Kampala resident and businessman can be reached on email@example.com