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By JOHN SAKALA
Luapula Water and Sewerage Company despite the many financial hurdles, is slowly making growth in terms of its revenue, Company Managing Director Kenneth Chense.
In a statement to The Independent Observer, Eng Chense said committed LpWSC employees have undertaken vigorous agenda to boost the collections using the current revenue base by committing to meeting agreed monthly targets.
He said the move was aimed at stemming the growth of salary arrears which at the moment stands at five months.
“The effort has enabled the company to pay 100 per cent of salaries throughout 2018, for junior staff in the last two grades. All the other members of staff have enjoyed 100 per cent payment of salaries arising from sheer hard work by employees and cooperation from the customers in the last three months using internally generated resources, with support from the Board.
“Revenues which were at K239, 000 per month in 2016 are now averaging K850, 000 per month. In December 2018, the collections peaked to K1.2 million, which included support from government of K309, 000. The cost coverage ratio now stands at 68 per cent from its humble beginnings of less than 15 per cent. To me this is an excellent achievement to growth but there is room for improvement as we continue to knockout salary arrears,” he said.
He said the measures in place will ensure that the company becomes self-sustaining within the next 24-36 months in its mandate to provide water and sewerage services in all the districts of Luapula Province.
He said LpWSC was formed in 2008 over a small customer revenue base and with cost coverage of less than 15 per cent.
“In view of the fact that the revenues collected by the company are less than the costs, the government provides revenue grants to cover the deficit of its operational costs which include salaries. The backlog of salary arrears, which has accumulated over the past 3 years, is five months.
“A request has been made to government for support on the counterpart funding provision on the Integrated Small Towns Water Supply and Sanitation Project (ISTWSSP) to assist in liquidating the backlog of payment to employees and creditors,” he said.
Eng Chense said the company is undergoing a massive capitalisation programme on the Integrated Small Towns Water Supply and Sanitation Project (ISTWSSP) worth USD40 million financed by the AfDB to increase the customer revenue base and make the company financially stable.
He said the infrastructure rehabilitation and expansion works will be undertaken in Mansa, Samfya, Mwense and Kawambwa over a period of 24 months.
“Furthermore, the government has directly financed over K130 million to carry out expansion works in Nchelenge, Chiengi and Lunga over a period of 12 months.