CoW hikes rates


Windhoekers would have to brace the hilly weather with a pinch in the pocket after the City of Windhoek increased water tariffs by 9.2% and 15% after getting approval from Electricity Control Board (ECB) and Namwater respectively.
The increases are effective from tomorrow. The increases also come in the wake of a N$567m expenditure plan with the bulk of the money going to capital projects.
Management Committee chairperson, Moses Shiikwa  said “This year the bulk electricity supplier, NamPower, has informed council that it has obtained approval for an average tariff increase of 13.22% on bulk electricity demand and consumption from the ECB, effective from 1st July 2014” at the meeting. Shiikwa added that the three dams that supply water to central Namibia did not register any inflow for the past rainy season therefore bringing an end to the much enjoyed wet season in the central regions.
“I regrettably have to inform Windhoek residents that NamWater has obtained approval from the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry to increase the bulk water tariff by 75% over a three year period” Shiikwa continued.  The first increase of 25% was affected in October 2012, followed by another 25% in July last year. The current 15% increase which comes into effect tomorrow will be followed by a 8.7% increase the same period next year.
“I therefore wish to re-iterate, that in order to keep water and electricity affordable commodities, at least to the poorer members of our society, Central Government should subsidize drinking water and electricity in our country” Shiikwa appealed.
In contrast, council also tabled its N$567m budget, which will be focus on expediting land delivery. Windhoek Mayor Agnes Kafula said this budget will focus on developing the city and improving the quality of life for Windhoekers.
City expenditure
Ironically N$436m of the proposed budget will be used for the on-going capital projects including the housing projects around the city.
“I am aware of the challenges that we face, particularly land delivery and housing, which is due to the shortage of resources. I urge our communities to remain patient and work with us in addressing these socio-economic deficiencies” Kafula said.
She added that projects of formalising the informal settlements have taken off, with many roads being turned to bitumen status in the Okahandja Park and Havana areas. The City of Windhoek received a disclaimed audit from the Auditor general for the year 2009, 2010 and 2011. The Auditor comment saying “I am unable to express an audit opinion due to, insufficient provision for bad debts, accuracy of the provision for normal staff leave, accuracy of the provision for bonus leave, incomplete information, unrecorded liabilities and bank reconciliation difference.
Poor state of affairs
The Auditor General’s recent report  noted that bad debts increased to N$35 000 000 in 2009 from N$31 949 176 in 2008, but remained at N$35 000 000 in 2010 and decreased to N$33 383 077 in 2011.
The auditors have estimated that the provision on total debtors should be N$105 059 353. Therefore, debtors provision is understated by N$71 676 276.
This budget which was tabled in Parliament late last year, indicated that the City Police Department recorded a loss of N$142 059 663 in 2009 which increased to N$165 893 206 during 2010 and N$194 726 280 in 2011.
The transport department also recorded a loss of N$118 828 380 during the 2009 and that lost further increased to N$122 293 398 in 2010.
City highlight
Nampower has advised council that it would cost N$173m to establish a new supply point.
Council applied to ECB for an upward electricity tariff adjustment and was granted an approval of an average increase of 9.2% effective July 2014.
City of Windhoek obtained an approval for an average tariff increase of 13.22% on bulk electricity demand an consumption from ECB effective 1st July 2014.
Currently 3 dams only hold 71million cubic meters of water which is the lower in 10 years.
The newly adopted water use strategy says Windhoek should save 10% on water in order for the current water supply to last till 2015/16 rainy season.
NamWater has been approved by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry to increase the bulk water tariff by 75% over three year period which means that the tariffs are going up by 15% tomorrow, and will go up again by 8.7% next year.
The water account of the city is run on cost recovery principles and an increase in bulk water tariffs is recovered from the end user through tariffs by the city.
City of Windhoek capital budget for 2014/15 to the tune of N$567m proposed, with N$353m proposed for 2015/15 and N$242m for 2016/17.
27% of the Windhoek population is unemployed and this is the population that mostly struggles to afford city bills.
The city which currently at an operation deficit of N$369m is the cause of the increased tariffs. It is with this that the city says that it can only recover its loses by increasing the tariffs which the general public cannot afford.