Govt eyes pre-paid meters at public schools … as it settles N$26.4 million municipal debt
To avert utility services being cut off at public schools, the acting minister of education Martin Andjaba says they have engaged service providers, specifically the City of Windhoek, to install pre-paid meters for water and electricity usage at public schools.
Andjaba said this last Thursday when responding to questions by the opposition Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) parliamentarian Michael Kavekotora, who wanted to know what the government was doing to avoid a scenario where electricity and water supply is disconnected at indebted public schools.
New Era reported earlier this year that the City of Windhoek had cut off water supply to at least 20 government schools in the Khomas region alone over outstanding bills amounting to around N$55 million. “Since this disruption of services has become a common occurrence, the ministry has opted to employ alternative measures to curb the high utility bills. In this regard, we are having ongoing discussions with service providers, particularly the City of Windhoek, to introduce pre-paid meters for water and electricity in our schools,” he told fellow lawmakers.
He said the education ministry had taken note of the unfortunate suspension of services of water and electricity at 15 government schools in the Khomas region by the City of Windhoek due to non-payment. However, he said the ministry at both regional and head office level has made a deliberate collaborative effort in verifying and reconciling invoices for payments, thus leading to the payment of outstanding arrears amounting to N$26.4 million to the Windhoek Municipality for the period 28 January to 12 February this year.
“The latest affected payments saw the immediate reconnection of services at all affected schools last month as per the agreement reached with the City of Windhoek,” he said.
Andjaba said the disconnection of water at public schools is not limited to the Khomas region alone as most regions are affected.
He said the cordial relationship between various local authorities and the regional education directorate enabled the ministry to make the necessary arrangements to honour its obligations whenever funds became available.
Andjaba added that the ministry through its various regional directorates continues to engage officials of various service providers, particularly municipalities and power utility entities, to work out ways to curb the high water and electricity bills.
Moreover, he said, the school management have continuously been capacitated to ensure that they develop the necessary management capabilities and mechanisms to manage the utilisation of these essential services responsibly.
He said the ministry is also considering the use of renewable energy, mainly solar power at public schools.
2020-03-05 07:11:04 | 2 months ago