NWSC, UPDF in bitter row over Nakasongola water plant
National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) has petitioned the Attorney General for clarification on the failure by Luweero Industries Limited to handover a water treatment plant in Nakasongola district.
NWSC took over the water supply in Nakasongola town in June 2017. According to NWSC Managing Director Eng Silver Mugisha, the takeover implies that all water systems around and near Nakasongola town should be under its jurisdiction.
Surprisingly, Mugisha said, Luwero Industries Limited, a subsidiary of National Enterprises Corporation (NEC), the business arm of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), has declined to handover a water treatment plant located at Kigguli village in Lwampanga Sub County.
The plant sits on a piece of land under the jurisdiction of Nakasongola Military Barracks.
Dr Mugisha said that recently, Luwero Industries Limited hiked the water tariffs by 60 per cent a move which raises questions on the management of the water sector in Uganda. He has now petitioned the Attorney General seeking clarification on whether there is an Authority which can block National Water’s access to any water system.
“We have an issue; we don’t want to cover up. The minister, using the powers entrusted to him by the Water Act gazetted Nakasongola Town to be under NWSC. What it means is that any water systems in Nakasongola town should revert to NWSC but the army said, “ours, we shall remain with it” because they have certain powers but we are working through all channels to see how we can streamline this,” Mugisha said.
Ronald Kisakye, the NWSC area Manager says that National Water has limited access to the treatment plant since its located within Nakasongola Military Barracks adding that as it stands, the corporation cannot guarantee the quality of water from the plant run by UPDF staff with no capacity and skills to treat water.
George William Kazibwe, the LC III Chairperson of Nakasongola town says sometimes the area runs out of water, yet NWSC cannot intervene due to lack of access, further accusing the UPDF of causing a disservice to residents.
Recently, NEC spokesman James Katongana, said that they are negotiating the terms and conditions before surrendering the facility to NWSC since the plant supplies water to Nakasongola Army Barracks and other installations, which may be affected if they hand it over to NWSC without clear arrangements.
He added that the facility was built by the government for soldiers so they must ensure there is an agreement before they surrender it to another party.
According to its website, Luwero Industries Limited boasts of a production capacity of 144,000 cubic meters per year. The water is sold to the community at a subsidized rate as part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility.