GRANT-aided institutions should devise ways of dismantling their huge debts with Nkana Water and Sewerage Company (NWSC), Copperbelt Minister Mwenya Musenge has said.
And NWSC board chairperson Julia Chaila has said NWSC was determined to keep its workers in their jobs regardless of the economic challenges, and that in doing this the company had developed strategies to ensure that it survived and avoided downsizing and laying off its workers.
Mr Musenge said grant-aided institutions and other organizations which owe NWSC huge unpaid water bills should devise ways of dismantling their debts so that the water utility company could continue to provide better water and sanitation services to everyone.
The Copperbelt minister was speaking yesterday at Bulangililo Primary School during the commemoration of the World Water Day under the theme “Water and Jobs”.
“It is incumbent upon us, as customers, to do our part by stopping vandalism of water infrastructure, stop illegal connections and report cases of vandalism. We should also report cases of vandalism to the police and NWSC. This is the only way we will guarantee jobs for everyone.
“We should also pay water bills. If we pay water bills, then we will enable the water utility company to provide better water and sanitation services to everyone. Resources may be tight, but grant-aided institutions should devise ways of dismantling their debt with NWSC,” Mr Musenge said.
He said Government was implementing the National Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Programme (NUWSSP) which was a unified approach adopted to improve the development of water supply and sanitation services in all urban areas in the country.
Mr Musenge said the Nkana Water Supply and Sanitation Project (NWSSP) was a project within the national programme which was implemented in two phases.
“This programme is aimed at providing continuous and satisfactory delivery of portable water to all consumers in Kalulushi, Kitwe and Chambishi,” he said.
Mr Musenge said Government would now implement phase two through funding from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and works would be contracted through the China Henan International Corporation (CHICO).
“US$200 million will be required to execute this project which am told will be launched in May this year. This project, apart from addressing water production needs, it will also culminate into the employment of several of our youths on the Copperbelt who have skills.
“It will also lead to an improvement in water and sanitation services in Kitwe, Kalulushi and Chambishi towns so that you can improve on the current number of water connections of 58,000 and sewer network coverage of 67 percent,” he said. Mr Musenge said he was happy that the first phase of NWSSP had led to rehabilitation and expansion works being undertaken in Kitwe, Kalulushi and Chambishi.
“As you are aware, under phase one, NWSC was able to expand Nkana East water treatment plant, construct a new water intake for Kalulushi, construct water towers, rehabilitate part of the Water and Sewerage Network and this has led to improved water supply and sewerage to areas of Kitwe, Kalulushi and Chambishi.
“The new project, NWSSPII, will assist the water utility company to provide services to the new areas arising from expansion of the service areas, installation of new pipe network as well as overhaul the old water and sewer pipe network and installations of water meters for customers,” he said. And Ms Chaila said NWSC was determined to keep its workers in their jobs regardless of the economic challenges. She said the company had developed strategies to ensure that the company survived and avoided downsizing and laying-off its workers.
Ms Chaila urged water utility companies such as NWSC to ensure that the welfare of the workers was taken into consideration by creating a safe working environment.
He said NWSC valued all its employers, from the chockers, the plumbers, the marketing assistants, the pump operators, engineers and all the workers who always made it possible to ensure that clean and safe drinking water was produced and distributed to customers.
“NWSC is determined to keep these workers in their jobs regardless of some economic challenges. In order to do this, the company had developed strategies to ensure that the company survived and avoided downsizing and laying-off its workers,” Ms Chaila said.