Union of county employees appeals for financial bailout
The umbrella Union of county government workers is now appealing for financial aid from the government to water companies to help them pay salaries to their workers as well as stay afloat.
This comes as more than 20, 000 employees of the water companies countrywide are now staring at financial crisis with delays in payment of their salaries due to huge loss of revenue as the country fights coronavirus pandemic.
Kenya County Government Workers Union (KCGWU) General Secretary Roba Duba said that the water firms have been forced to operate on a shoestring budget following the directive by the government not to disconnect any Kenyan who has not paid water bill as the country fights the Covid-19 pandemic with revenue collection taking a massive dip.
The directive, Mr Duba said, has led to huge revenue losses in most of the companies leading to delays in payment of salaries and wages to their staff as the water firms largely depend on revenue collected from water bills to stay afloat.
“This financial crisis has led to delays in payment of salaries for water companies’ employees, coupled with the lack of recognition and motivation of workers generally at this crucial moment of the pandemic. If it goes unchecked in the near future, we might have serious crisis in our hands,” said Mr Duba in a letter addressed to Water Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki.
The letter is copied to Treasury CS Ukur Yatani, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe, CoG chairman, Cotu Secretary General, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Water, among others.
He explained that revenue collection has dwindled since the directive by President Uhuru Kenyatta last month to all water companies not to disconnect water supply to any Kenyan on account of failure to pay their water bills, particularly those in the informal settlements, as one of the ways of fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.
The directive, the former Moyale MP said, has greatly affected the normal operations of water companies in Kenya which generate their own revenues to pay salaries and wages, operations and maintenance, all overheads as well as official levies to discharge their mandate.
“Consequently, the government directive has greatly affected the revenue flow of water companies leading to most of them surviving on shoestring budgets to stay afloat,” he said.
The KCGWU boss has now appealed to the national government to come to the companies’ aid by offering financial support to enable them avoid falling into financial straits as the Covid-19 crisis continues to plug the deficit caused by revenue loss as a result of the pandemic.
He pointed out the financial bailout will go a long way in paying workers on time, pay motivational allowances, purchasing adequate personal protective equipment as well as be able to run the firms’ activities to ensure constant supply of clean water to Kenyans.
He explained that it is imperative that the Ministry of Water take cognizance that water, sewerage and sanitation is an essential service that if left unsupported by the government under the current circumstances, will lead to reversing the very gains intended of such a noble directive.
“In view of the foregoing, we request your good offices to provide and disburse financial interventions from the National Government to the water companies to enable them fill the deficit created by the loss of revenue. Your cooperation on this matter will go a long way in fighting this pandemic,” he said.