KIGALI – Water Supply and Sanitation (WSS) reforms to accelerate service delivery in Africa are possible with correct leadership, Dr. Eng. Silver Mugisha, the Managing Director, National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC), has said.
Drawing examples from Uganda’s utility provider, which is regarded as the most effective on the continent; Dr. Mugisha tipped water sector players on robust utility reforms to bolster water and access, especially in developing countries.
Dr. Mugisha also the President of the African Water and Sanitation Association (AfWSA) was delivering his second keynote presentation at the International Water Association (IWA) Water and Development Congress and Exhibition (WDCE) 2023 underway at Kigali Convention Centre in Kigali, Rwanda.
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He listed key underlying success factors affecting service delivery, including widespread technology and digital penetration, strict respect for governance framework, and strong corporate-wide productivity management system.
Continuous mainstreaming of strategic partnerships and consistent tariff indexation and cost optimization are, among the other factors, he said are critical for accelerating service delivery in developing countries.
Dr. Mugisha urged water regulators and leaders to aim for financial autonomy and self-reliance but also initiate useful and supportive partnerships for better service delivery.
“Having a correct balance between water as a basic life need and resource-driven service offering is key for service delivery,” Dr. Mugisha said.
He also tipped utility providers to put in place strategic directions while emphasizing rationale rather than form of reform.
The Ugandan utility has previously received praise for its innovations and efforts that have resulted in a significant increase in service coverage and supply reliability.
He highlighted the growth experienced by NWSC over the last 10 years, specifically growth in revenue, pipe network, and customer base.
He said NWSC is using the latest technology to improve service delivery in Uganda.
For the past 10 years, the number of towns under NWSC jurisdiction has increased from 23 to 268 and is expected to increase to 350 by 2028.
The number of people served by piped water has increased from 4.5 million to 18 million and is projected to increase to 28 million by 2028.
The number of customer connections has increased from 296.000 to 874,000 and is expected to increase to 1,250.000 by 2028.
Pipe network length has increased from 5,073Kms to 22.000Kms and is planned to increase to 32,000Kms by 2028; annual turnover has increased from Shs155 billion to Shs 519 billion and is projected to increase to Shs700 billion by 2028, according to latest data.