Namibia: Windhoek Municipal Debt Soars

1 December 2020

Almost a third of accounts are currently in arrears at the City of Windhoek, the city's finance executive Jennifer Comalie said last week.

Comalie said the city has about 120 000 accounts with outstanding payments.

"To deal with such high volumes of accounts, it is a challenge for the city; we are really asking people to be proactive and help manage this," she said during a panel discussion at the government communication centre.

She further appealed to residents to approach the city and make future payment plans and also to adhere to payments.

"We have seen a huge increase in the city's accounts up to 30%, and especially in the beginning of the pandemic. It had a direct impact on the city's outflow. Even now, people are not able to pay their bills due to the consequences of the pandemic," she said.

According to Comalie, there has been a 30% increase in arrears between March and June, which severely affected the city's cash flow.

According to her, the city is continuously growing with people coming into urban areas to look for job opportunities.

"There is normal growth of the population and the city needs to take this into account when we do our forward and long-term planning and make sure those services are provided to those residents."

Municipal spokesperson Lydia Amutenya said the city plays a crucial role as the capital city. -

"We provide essential services to Windhoek residents, in respect of provision of water as well as electricity plus other services that are covered through the rates and taxes. To enable us to provide efficient services, we need to charge for those services because we don't generate electricity ourselves, we do have water treatment plans and we also buy bulk water from Namwater; therefore, it is important for residents to settle their bills," explained Amutenya.

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