WATER supply coverage in Harare has surpassed its target to reach 70% following a maximisation of “low revenue” returns, according to the 100-day Rapid Results Potable Water Feedback Report.
BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
At the launch of the first 100 days Rapid Results plan on October 13, 2016 a target of increasing water supply coverage to 55% from 45% had been set. However, the target was surpassed through maximisation of water revenues paid in levies and utilities.
The 100-day Rapid Results Potable Water Feedback team leader, Zvikomborero Hoko yesterday told NewsDay on the sidelines of the Harare City Council end of the 100-day review workshop in Harare that they had to depend solely on water revenue collections to support targets.
The dependency on water collections was due to fewer funds being allocated to the Harare City Council from the national budget, which affected funds in the Public Sector Investment Fund (PSIF) where water projects are supported from.
“In terms of fund mobilisation this is entirely done by Harare (Harare City Council). But, as you know the operating procedures of councils was that they used to get funds from PSIF where government on an annual basis would allocate funds. The idea was that government would take care of the major capital expenditure, repairs and maintenance than the councils were then supposed to meet the daily costs,” Hoko said.
“With the suspension of support to government from major institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, the budget of the national fiscus became a bit constrained so there was a also a reduction on what goes to councils.”
He said this had a spiral effect where councils were no longer able to invest in major investments, repairs and expansion.
“If your service delivery status goes down, you will be unable to deliver service, customers become angry and they now hit you back through not paying. The major source of funding should be payment from citizens,” Hoko said.
As such, Hoko said they used the little funding to plug the leakages, prioritise and bolster functioning processes, which helped in increasing water coverage in the capital.
The Potable Water Feedback Report found that water payments in Harare were ranging between about 40 and 50%, while countrywide it was even lower, ranging between 30 and 40%.
Seed funds for capital water projects were also found to be very low. Estimates put the costs of these capital water projects to be between $500 million and $1 billon.
“We want to see what you have achieved with the little resources, then you can justify the need to procure more. It should be business unusual when implementing goals under this approach,” Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) deputy chief secretary, Ray Ndhlukula said.
Manufacturers cited the lack of a constant supply of water as one of the major setbacks to their production, which forced them to pay higher tariffs in order to have a continued supply.
The 100-day Rapid Results Potable Water Feedback Report is under the Ease of Doing Business Reforms undertaken by the OPC.
Ndhlukula said failure to achieve goals under the Ease of Doing Business Reforms meant different teams were looking at areas, which were beyond the main objectives they initially set out at the start of the 100 days strategy.