Water providers raise concerns on increasing taxes

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Utility firms have raised concerns over a proposal to increase taxes levied on extraction and supply of water.

Through their lobby, the Water Service Providers Association (Waspa), the firms said the proposal by the national assembly to increase water levies from 50 cents to Sh5 per cubic metre will disrupt provision of the basic commodity.

The association CEO Anthony Ambugo said the levies are a big concern to the players.

“We feel that implementing such a direction will not only affect the water service providers but the consumers themselves,” said Mr Ambugo.

He was speaking at Ciala Resort in Kisumu during the opening of Waspa bi-monthly meeting that brought together senior officials of water companies in the country.

“There are so many taxes being implemented in the water service provision. Counties are already struggling to combat Covid-19. With limited water supply it’s going to be tough for them,” Mr Ambugo said.

The association had raised concerns with the Council of Governors over the increased levies.

Governors wrote to the Water ministry reiterating that counties should collect levies.

“We raised it with the CoG and they picked it up with the Ministry of Water and later advised counties not to implement this level levies,” said Mr Ambugo.

The devolved units said they have the responsibility to charge abstraction fees to private entities.

Water charges are paid to the Water Resources Authority (WRA) , which the Water ministry affirmed in its response to the council.

“The Water Resources Authority (WRA) is meant to protect the environment. Unfortunately we never see the funds being ploughed back to the counties for water conservation,” he said.

He noted that the emerging climate change has affected access to water in catchment areas.

“Counties are struggling with issues of climate change mitigation and adaptation. Currently most water catchment areas are becoming dry,” said Mr Ambugo.

He called on water providers and consumers to plant trees and conserve the river banks to address the emerging challenges of climate c-hange.

Kisumu Water and Sanitation Company managing director Thomas Odongo noted the cost of running the water utilities is overwhelming for the providers

“We are asking the national government to look into a special tariff for electricity for water provision.I know the street lights have special tariffs,” said Mr Odongo.

First Published: Business Daily

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