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Boost firms to fight virus

Tuesday June 23 2020

What has never been in doubt is that it will take the concerted efforts of the government, public and private sector enterprises, non-governmental organisations and other agencies and, most importantly, the contributions of individuals to successfully fight the coronavirus pandemic.

The bulk of the contributions should enable the safety guidelines to curb the spread of the deadly virus to be put in place and stridently enhanced.

A high standard of hygiene is a major weapon in the fight against the pandemic, and this is where provision of water is essential. The most consistent message is the need to frequently wash hands with running water and soap. The 70 water companies operating across the country come in handy.

Since the pandemic broke out in mid-March, the public health authorities have appealed to the water firms in the towns and rural areas not to disconnect supply over non-payment of bills.

However, this is a service they cannot provide free of charge. Asking them not to disconnect water simply means that they have no other way of getting consumers to pay their bills.

It’s not all surprising that the revenue collection by these firms has halved as most of their consumers are unable to pay their monthly water bills.

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This is a fact that has been ascertained by the Water Sector Trust Fund. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel as the fund has secured donor support to enable the water companies to pay salaries, clear electricity bills and buy water treatment chemicals.

With this injection of funds, the firms should revitalise their operations and strive to enhance efficiency to cut costs. However, they must impress upon their consumers the fact that they must pay their bills to sustain water supply.

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