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Residents owe City N$390 million

Windhoek residents owe the City of Windhoek a staggering N$390 million due to non-payment of their “municipal consumer debt” over periods of years. Many of the accounts are outstanding for 5 years.
According to the City of Windhoek spokesperson, Joshua Amukugo, the debt owed to the City is hampering the City’s provision for service delivery, which has resulted in the service delivery by the municipality to decline.

“The lack of service provision is due to accumulated debt. To get services you have to fork out money. But now if you are forking out money with millions of debt then how will you pay for this material, how will you pay for these people to go and put up the services, while you have people sitting with your money and they do not want to give it,” he said.
He said, to deliver basic services to households effectively, the City relies on its own revenue which is composed mainly of property taxes and charges for providing water, electricity, refuse removal, sanitation and other services.
“However, one critical question is what happens when the ability of the City of Windhoek to generate adequate levels of own revenue is constrained? To this end, the issue of non-payment also referred to as municipal consumer debt, poses a serious threat to the financial health of the Windhoek Municipality,” he said.
He further said, although there is a habit of non-payment of municipal debt, there has been an outcry regarding the steps taken by the Windhoek Municipality in ensuring that debts are paid timeously and that municipal debts are prioritised.
“In applying its debt management policy it has been strangely noted that debtors are willing to stay without water as opposed to electricity. It the services for water are discounted due to prolonged periods of non-payment by debtors, nothing changes. These debtors continue with their habits of non-payment of municipal debts. Strangely once the electricity is disconnected, debtors either come in for arrangements or settle their accounts in full, hence the approach to block pre-paid meters. This is in terms of regulation 20 of the Electricity Supply Regulations,” he said.
Ben Ngairorve, manager of the debt management division at the City, said there are two ways that the municipality can get their revenue;  subsidies from central government and through their own methods of revenue collection.  “We are not getting subsidies from central government, our source of income is coming from those services that we are rendering. You should also understand that we are getting our service from other enterprises like NamPower and NamWater. We pay them for their services and yet we have a big problem collecting our own revenue from consumers,” he said. He further said, that not prioritising municipal bills is an overall culture and is therefore what the City hopes to change through its awareness campaigns. “We will make you aware that your municipality bill is important as well like any other and you must come and pay it,” he said. The City further said that although it renders a range of services to its residence, the water and electricity component, as old as 3 years, stands at over N$100million.

 

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Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia

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20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.