Eenhana – Eenhana City Council has approved a decision to increase water tariffs by 4% for the 2022/23 financial year to recover costs incurred in maintaining water reticulation facilities and sewers.
The adjustments will result in an increase of 0.85 Namibian cents for households, 0.93 Namibian cents for non-domestic users and 0.73 Namibian cents for residential special users per cubic meter, respectively. Sewer connection fees are also adjusted from 10% to 25%, depending on the size of the pipe.
In the previous year, the council also increased its water usage charge by 30 cents per cubic metre.
“The adjustments we have made to our fee structure are well below the services requested by our residents. Everyone is asking the board to deliver in a very short timeframe, which is impossible due to slow cash flow and insufficient other resources. However, we believe that the adjustment in the tariff structure will allow us to move forward little by little,” said the city’s mayor, Omri-Onn Kavandje, adding that the whole country is affected by the economic downturn.
The council tabled a budget of N$88 million for the financial year 2022/23. This is an 18% increase over last year’s budget.
Of this, N$10 million is budgeted for municipal services, which include provision of water and sewage systems at the Oukango Park location, provision of water points in informal settlements , the installation of streetlights and the construction and maintenance of road infrastructure.
During his 2022/23 budget speech on Monday, Kavandje said residents, businesses and government offices owed the council N$30 million in unpaid municipal services for the previous financial year.
Acknowledging the impact of Covid-19 on residents, he said the council would start organizing and strategizing to find the best way to pay off their debts.
On the positive side, the mayor said he adopted an open-door policy to start good conversations and offered agreements with customers on how to settle their accounts.
“A small portion is better than not paying at all. I want to thank all the residents who paid their bills on time,” he added.
Overall, the council also spent N$63 million, representing 71% of the total budget, on operating expenses.
Kavandje said most of it is necessitated by increased maintenance of water supply systems and sewer reticulation systems in the city, as well as current fuel price increases. Another N$25 million, which accounts for 29% of total expenditure, is earmarked for investment projects.
This fiscal year’s budget increase is necessitated by improvements in housing delivery over the past year, which take a direct proportion of their revenue streams.
“The sources of our income are payments from residents for services rendered. This money must be reinvested in the development of the city,” Kavandje said. In order to achieve the budget, residents were advised to honor their obligations by paying
their municipal accounts on time.
“Failure to do so will put the council in a very difficult situation, which could have a direct negative impact on the socio-economic development of the city,” observed the mayor.