FINANCE minister Samuel Mumbengegwi says the Zimbabwe National Water Authority should review water and sewer tarrifs reflective of economic levels for i
t to sustain treatment and pumping of water.
This means that residents should brace themselves for tarrif increases despite the enactment last week of a law to freeze salary and price increase to curb inflation.
Presenting his mid-term fiscal review policy to parliament yesterday, Mumbengegwi said due to the inability by local authorities to maintain urban water and reticulation, and sewer upgrading, they had become increasingly dependent on central government loans.
He said this had resulted in the level for funding required by Zinwa, which has taken over most of the centres, to be high.
Mumbengegwi allocated $1,4 trillion for the restoration of water supplies to only four towns – Harare, Bulawayo, Marondera and Beitbridge.
Water resources and infrastructural development minister Munacho Mutezo told parliament last week that Zinwa had so far taken over 42 out of 52 urban centres and there was need for massive funding from government to normalise water supplies in the centres.
“Government can not perpetually assume direct responsibility for the financial requirements of Zinwa’s long term and sewer programmes, it is necessary that the authority’s water and sewer tarrifs reflect economic levels that sustain treatment and pumping of water,” he said.
Among the four centres allocated $1,4 trillion, Bulawayo, which is facing a critical shortage of water following the decommissioning of major supply dams, has the proposed Mtshabezi-Umzingwane which requires billions of dollars as the immediate alternative, a situation which could impact on other projects.
There was no specific breakdown of how much would be allocated to particular centres but given the number of centres taken over by Zinwa so far, the allocated amount was clearly not enough.