Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | National Water and Sewerage Corporation has dismissed 31 Prepaid Water Meter Token Vendors.
They had been recruited and trained to distribute water tokens to consumers in Kampala city.
The layoff of the agents climaxed last month since it started at the beginning of the year. Otto Methodiuos Pacific, the acting General Manager Kampala Water says the agents were dismissed from duty for overpricing the unit cost of tokens they sold to customers.
Some of the agents operated inpro-poor urban settlements of Kampala including Kawempe, Banda, Kinawataka, Kanyanya, Kalerwe, Luzira, Kabalagala, Mpererwe, Lugoba, Kisenyi I, II, III and Kagugube, Bwaise and Naguru, amongst others.
The agents sold water tokens at 5,000 shillings, up from the recommended rate of 2,000 shillings stipulated by the NWSC for water kiosks operators and 25 shillings for a 20 Litre Jerry can for ordinary consumers.
Otto says they are now left with only 20 vendors down from 51 absorbed at the introduction of prepaid water metering system in 2012, following pilot phase which commenced as early as 2008 in Kisenyi 1 and 2 Parishes in Kampala. He says the 20 now serves customers in functional prepaid meters located in different informal settlements numbering between 1,480 and 1,505.
The principle of prepaid water meters is similar to that of UMEME in which case one gets token loaded onto his card which he uses to trigger and stop water flow once inserted into the meter.
Otto says under the system; customers receive volumes of water proportional to the amount of money with which they recharged their system.
According to the Water Sector Strategic Plan, installing one prepaid water meter cost approximately 3 Million shillings compared to the ordinary meters priced at about 250,000 shillings including installation.
The meters were blamed for short battery lifespan, complications in fixing them domestically in case of malfunctions, digital display errors on their screens, jam in their valves as well as faulty seals and leakage among others.