Government agencies and institutions in the Ashanti Region are indebted to the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) to the tune of GHȼ95 million as at May, this year.
Metropolitan, Municipal, District Assemblies (MMDCEs), hospitals and schools owe the Ashanti North and South Regions of GWCL that is meant for development and maintenance.
This came to light when the Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah, paid a working visit to the offices of the state company on Monday to familiarize himself with its operations.
Maxwell Addo Boateng, Ashanti South Regional Chief Manger of GWCL, told the Minister that out of the amount, MMDCEs owed his outfit GHȼ74 million as at April and had paid GHȼ100,000.
According to him, the indebtedness presents an enormous challenge to the company, which is working to increase its production capacity from the current 44.2 million gallons of water supplied across the Ashanti Region.
His counterpart at the GWCL Ashanti North, Gilbert Quaye said government agencies, including the Tafo Government Hospital, owed the company approximately GHȼ21 million and had failed to make payment, disclosing that a total of 375 institutions were indebted.
He added that private customers also owed the GWCL Ashanti North Region GHȼ23,309,671 as of May, this year and that they were in the process of retrieving the monies.
Mr. Quaye bemoaned encroachment on the Barekese transmission line, premises of work stations and offices of the company by traders and squatters.
He said illegal miners and choked pipelines were also hampering their operations.
The Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah, on his part, reiterated the commitment of the Regional Coordinating Council to helping the GWCL retrieve its monies from state institutions.
“We can’t continue in this manner. I want this indebtedness to be settled in order to have the moral courage to point to your deficiencies. Your collective failure or success is also my failure or success, and I will therefore want you to succeed. When you fail it is the government, which will be blamed because the citizens don’t know you; they voted for the government,” the Regional Minister noted.
He pledged to liaise with the Chief Executive of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly to relocate hawkers at the premises of the utility company at Suame Roundabout.
Mr Osei Mensah, however, asked the company to improve its collection and billing of customers.
“We have come to solve problems and not to complain about them, and with your collective efforts, we can do that with ease,” he intimated.
The Minister also visited Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) and Architectural and Engineering Services Limited (AESL) where he held similar meetings with management team members of the state companies.