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Schlettwein urges NamWater to prioritise people over profits

Schlettwein urges NamWater to prioritise people over profits

Staff Reporter

THE Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform, Calle Schlettwein, has urged the Board of Directors of the Namibia Water Corporation (NamWater) to focus on supplying water to customers at the most affordable price.

“Our policy is not to make water a business and the reason is we must make sure that we supply water at the cheapest price to the consumers,” the minister said.

Schlettwein made these remarks during the recent announcement of NamWater’s newly-appointed Board of Directors, where he stressed that profit-making should not be NamWater’s primary goal, considering that the country already has costly water.

PICTURED: (from left to right) Abraham Nehemiah (NamWater CEO), Anna Shiweda (MAWLR Deputy Minister), Carl Schlettwein (MAWLR Minister), Ndiyakupi Nghituwamata (MAWLR Executive Director) and Luther Rukira (New Board Chairperson). Photo: Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform

“If we compare our water price in the region with other water prices, we are the most expensive. If we want to be competitive in industrialization, we must actually provide cheaper water rather than more expensive water,” he said.

Rather than pursuing profits, Schlettwein encouraged the board to ensure that individuals living in poverty also have access to water, particularly given the existence of numerous informal settlements in the country.

“We have got large informal settlements, poor people that need and have a right to water, as have rich people and as have businesses. And you cannot deprive them of that right. So, we must supply water at the best price that we have. There’s no room for profit-making if you want to supply these poor people,” he emphasized.

To actualize the provision of cheaper water in the country, Schlettwein disclosed that the government is prioritizing the construction of a desalination plant. This plant will supply water to locations such as Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, Henties Bay, Arandis, Uis, Daures, and eventually, even Windhoek. Schlettwein revealed that NamWater intends to collaborate with mines to finance this project.

“We have a very good synergy because the mines also want the cheapest possible water for their operations. So, we’re chasing the same objective. We believe therefore that that partnership is giving us the best chance to get a project at the cheapest possible price,” he added.

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