By CHILA NAMAIKO –
PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has set provision of safe and clean drinking water particularly in rural areas as a priority to avert the risk of waterborne diseases, Ministry of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection permanent secretary Edward Chomba has said.
Dr Chomba said President Lungu’s desire was to ensure that nobody was left behind in accessing clean drinking water mostly in rural areas where many people faced challenges in accessing the commodity.
He said when he appeared before a Parliamentary Committee on parastatal bodies yesterday chaired by Patriotic Front Msanzala Member of Parliament Peter Daka that Government was carrying out a robust project to ensure all citizens consumed water from clean sources like boreholes.
He said this in response to many follow-up questions from the members after he made a submission on responses to the report of the Auditor General on accounts of the financial year ended December 31, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.
The audit reports were for Nkana Water and Sewerage Company (NWSC) and Mulonga Water and Sewerage Company (MWSC).
“President Lungu is eager to ensure safe and clean drinking water is accessed by every citizen in rural parts of our country and as a ministry, our target is to realise this objective without leaving anybody behind,” he said.
In response to Mr Daka, who sought clarity on progress in construction of dams by the ministry, Dr Chomba said construction of new dams and upgrading of old ones was ongoing in many parts of the country.
He said the ministry was putting up more dams to provide water for livestock and empowering people to venture into economic activities such as irrigation.
Dr Chomba also clarified that Water Resources Management fees and charges regulation should be quoted in unit fees and not in Zambian Kwacha.
He said the 833.33, which residents with boreholes would be required to pay, was in unit fees of which a unit fee was 30 ngwee or K0.30, and when multiplied by 30 ngwee, it translated into about K250.00 on the operations of NWSC and MSWC, he said the water utility firms were tapping more investment to satisfy the needs of their customers in accessing water in homes.
NWSC managing director Diana Makwaba told the committee that the company was making improvements in the area of investment in new infrastructure in line with its 2016-2020 strategic plan to make the company more viable.