The Zimbabwe National Water Authority's (Zinwa) profitability jumped 172 percent to $1,8 million in the year to December 2017 on the back of strong growth in revenue; as the authority also recovered from the drawbacks of the massive debt write off in 2013.
Zinwa acting chief executive engineer Taurai Maurukira, told the authority's annual general meeting (AGM) last week that the bulk water supply regulator had posted a 2,5 million loss in 2016.
"The year 2017 saw the authority's fortunes turning from a loss position to recording a profit amounting to $1,8 million. The authority had previously recorded a loss of $2,5 million in the prior year," he said.
Eng Maurukira said revenue generated amounted to $67,7 million in 2017 compared to $55,4 million recorded in 2016, representing a year on year increase of $12,3 million," he said.
Profitability improved significantly in 2017 despite the fact that operating costs increased to $61,4 million compared to operating costs amounting to $53,4 million in the prior year.
"The increase in costs by 15 percent relates to increased costs that arose from restoration of flood affected plant and equipment as well as increased deployment of resources towards maintenance of water supply infrastructure," Eng Maurukira said.
The authority's total assets were little changed from $2,205 million in 2017 to $2,284 million in 2017.
Total clear water sales amounted to $35,6 million compared to $37 million in 2017, representing a 3,8 percent decline. The decline in sales resulted from disruption of clear water sales by floods, which affected pumping equipment in the first quarter of 2017.
Obsolete pumping equipment with reduced output and efficiency also affected the clear water supply. As a way to mitigate the impact of this, $2 million has been reserved to address the problems.
Raw water sales amounted to $11,8 million, marginally higher than the $11,7 million recorded in 2016. While the sales were affected by drought in 2016, they were equally weighed down by a very good rainy season the following year, reducing need for supplementary irrigation.
Eng Maurukira said liquidity challenges in recent years had resulted in the authority shifting its approach to revenue collection, with cashless systems being introduced as well as prepayments.
The new collection strategies and positive response by Government of settling bills owed by ministries resulted in collections rising from $32,6 million in 2016 to $72,5 million in 2017. Settlement of arrears by Government saw Zinwa clear its 11 months' salary arrears.
Eng Maurukira said that Zinwa was owed a staggering $112 million in 2017 from $146 million in 2016.
He said that a number of dam projects that had been suspended due to resource constraints had resumed with significant progress having been covered on Gwayi-Shangani. Other major ongoing dam projects include Marovanyati, Semwa and Causeway.
Completed projects include Tugwi-Mukosi Dam, which was commissioned last year, which will improve security for the lowveld sugar irrigators and reduced pressure on traditional main supply dam, Lake Mutirikwi, which was allowed to build storage in 2016 /17.