22 February 2013

Tanzania: Dar es Salaam Seeks to Curb Water Theft, Tax Evasion

UNTAXED big-timer water suppliers in Dar es Salaam will come under serious and persistent scrutiny as the government announces establishment of a special investigative team to expose individuals complicating water delivery services.

The team coming to effect on March 1, this year, will have its duties spelt out clearly tomorrow by the Deputy Minister for Water, Eng Benelith Mahenge. It (team) will be equipped with new software to help locate illegal water connections and other leakages.

Apart from Illegal connections, official records indicate that 30 per cent of total volume of water intended to reach consumption in Dar es Salaam was lost through illegal connections, while nearly 16 per cent disappeared through outflow.

Addressing employees and the management of the Dar es Salaam Water and Sewerage Authority (Dawasa) and the Dar es Salaam Water and Sewerage Corporation (Dawasco), the Minister for Water, Prof Jumanne Maghembe, warned all insensitive water dealers to stop cashing on water authorities. "It is absolutely unacceptable for unregistered water vendors for example, paying 23/- for a 20- litre water container but selling it at between 300/- and 500/- without paying taxes.

Appropriate action will be taken against all implicated dealers irrespective of individual status," Prof Maghembe insisted. However, the minister casts doubts on officials responsible for allocation or rationing of water in different parts of Dar es Salaam suspecting that some of them might be well connected to the thriving water business using trucks.

"Clandestine communication can be carried out to cut off supply to certain areas so as to make business," the minister said. He added, "You (Dawasa and Dawasco) have been entrusted with the duty to supply water to the convenience of all residents. Stop the sabotage.

You should show compassion to fellow human beings. I will keep an open eye on the functioning of water authorities on a daily basis," Maghembe stressed. The minister is equally aware of the existence of a few bad elements among employees tainting the image of water authorities in Dar es Salaam, saying that the best option was to expose and take disciplinary measures against them.

Commenting on the quality and safety of water supplied to consumers in Dar es Salaam, the minister directed the Energy and Water Regulatory Authority (EWURA) to prepare water regulations for effective and regular monitoring of the standard of water sources.

"Effective March 1, this year, all trucks selling water must be registered and certified before doing business. Water prices must be controlled by EWURA. We cannot allow existence of unrestrained water companies within the entrusted water authorities.

The uncalled-for arrangement causes suffering to consumers," he explained. Unveiling plans at hand to increase supply of water in Dar es Salaam, the minister spoke about ongoing expansion of both Upper and Lower Ruvu water sources and thanked the government of India and other development partners for funds received by the government for water projects in Dar es Salaam.

Dar es Salaam needs 450 million litres a day but the target is to have 765 million litres supplied daily before end of 2015. Water sources include Upper and Lower, Ruvu, Kimbiji, Mpera, Mtoni and deep wells currently in use to bridge the gap of nearly 150 million litres a day.

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