The Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) may struggle to meet its objective of serving Ghanaians better if a debt of GH₵840m owed it by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and domestic customers is not paid in the near-future.
Addressing stakeholders at the launch of GWCL’s e-billing system in Accra, the Minister for Water and Sanitation – Joseph Kofi Adda, announced that the company is owed over GH₵840m and urged consumers to pay to enable the company improve its services.
“The Ghana Water Company Limited is owed over GH₵840m. Forty two percent [42%] of that debt is owed by domestic customers, and fifty eight percent [58%] is owed by gov’t agencies(MDAs).
“I am also informed that GWCL has over 60,000 customers; 80 percent are domestic customers and only 70 percent of them pay their bills regularly. I want to believe that those who are not forthcoming with payment do so not because they cannot afford it or that they do not want to, but the current payment system might not be convenient for them.”
He also added that customers should take advantage of the new e-billing system, since it represents a convenient and safe mode of paying bills.
According to the minister, the new technology has come at the right time to bail the company out, in terms of enhancing revenue and making funds available for further investments.
The minister also urged GWCL to leverage on the new technology to enable it collect all arrears from customers, and to carry out further expansion works in order to have a larger customer base.
The GWCL introduced an electronic billing system to replace the old system in June 2016 on a pilot in the Tema area. The new electronic system will calculate water consumption instantly and automatically send to customers their corresponding bill via text message and/or e-mail.
Managing Director of GWCL, Dr. Clifford A. Braimah, indicated that the company is at a critical point in time when business as usual that prevents successful adoption of new technologies will end.
“Today, any customer of GWCL will be able to pay water bills through mobile money on MTN, Tigo and Vodafone. We deliver bills through SMS and emails. By January 2018 we shall completely phase-out paper bills and receipts.”
Richard Appiah Otoo, Chief Technology and Innovation Manager, also stated that GWCL has collected mobile numbers and email addresses of customers to have their bills delivered to them through SMS, and there has also been an expansion of water pay points with the addition of more telcos and banks.
Additionally, he announced, the company has procured about 40,000 smart-meters to aid in reading meters at customers’ homes, check pipe-bursts, and illegal dis/connections among others, which will be rolled out next month in Accra.