Tanathi borrowed Sh10 billion with no clear repayment plan

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Fredrick Tito Mwamati, the CEO of Tanathi Water Works Development Agency (TAWWDA) appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly in Nairobi in March 2021. [File, Standard]

The Senate County Public Investments and Special Funds Committee has been informed that the Tanathi Water Works Development Agency (TAWWDA) is faced with a Sh10.16 billion debt without a clear strategy for repayment.

The agency’s CEO Fredrick Mwamati, who appeared before the committee on Thursday said the agency entered into a loan agreement with the National Treasury for the implementation of Kenya Towns Sustainable Water Supply and Sanitation Programme.

The CEO told the committee chaired by Vihiga Senator Godfrey Osotsi that upon the promulgation of the Constitution and the enactment of the Water Act 2016, the water supply provision was devolved to counties with the water service providers becoming agents of the county governments.

“Tanathi Water Works Development Agency got two loans before the advent of devolution which have not been paid to date simply because there is no clear framework on how they will be repaid, the subsidiary loan agreements were entered into in 2010 under the Water Act, 2002 when the Water Service Providers were agents of the water service boards,” said Mwamati.

Water treatment plant 

He said the agency secured a Sh3 billion loan for intake works and a water treatment plant of 9000 cubic meters per day for the Masinga-Kitui Water and Sewerage project, however due to non-repayment of the loan it accrued interest of Sh645.1million shooting up to Sh3.7 billion.

Mwamati told the committee the agency also borrowed Sh2.4 billion for the rehabilitation of 58.8km of the canal and access roads for the Yatta canal water supply project which accrued Sh509.8 million interest pushing the amount to Sh2.9 billion.

The CEO further informed the committee that Tanathi Water Works started intake works and a water treatment plant of capacity 10,000 cubic meters per day and 78km of pipeline for the Machakos Water Supply Project at a cost of Sh1.266 billion an amount that is still unpaid.

“The agency started a sewer treatment plant of capacity 12,500 cubic meters per day and for the construction of 60km trunks and laterals, four ablution blocks for the Machakos sewerage project at a cost of Sh840.4million for the Machakos Water and Sewerage Company,” said Mwamati.

He said Tanathi Water Works under the Mwala cluster water supply project was to undertake the intake and treatment works of a capacity of 10,000 cubic meters per day and a further construction of 60km pipeline of various sizes and four water storage tanks at a cost of Sh1.47 billion.

Senate County Public Investment Committee chairman Godfrey Osotsi and Kiambu Senator Karungo wa Thang'wa at KICC on October 5, 2023. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Mwamati told the committee that the agency further undertook the works for the design of the Olooloitikosh dam water supply project, construction of 30m high dam and intake works and treatment works capacity of 35,000 cubic meters per day at a cost of Sh102.9 million.

The CEO revealed that the agency has also been supplying water to Matuu and Wote towns for the construction of lateral sewer lines and individual connections for Kitui town at a cost of Sh859.9 million. Under the same project, the agency was to drill and equip 10 boreholes for Kitui Water and Sanitation Company, Machakos Water and Sewerage Company and Wote Water and Sewerage Company.

“Tanathi Water Works Development Agency's mandate is to ensure the development, maintenance, and management of the national public water works within its area of jurisdiction and provide water services as a water service provider until the responsibilities are handed over to a county government,” said Mwamati.

Agency officials

The senators commiserated with the agency officials but took them to task for not following the law since they have failed to hand over the assets to the various water firms in Kitui, Makueni, Machakos and Kajiado counties where it is operating.

“I would like to tell the officials of Tanathi Water Works Agency that the law has to be followed since there were some glaring omissions in failing to have a clear framework on how such huge loans would be paid and that with their absence it would be difficult to have them repaid,” said Osotsi.

The Vihiga Senator said that the committee would invite Water Cabinet Secretary Zachary Njeru, his National Treasury counterpart Njuguna Ndung’u, Auditor General Nancy Gathungu and the Council of Governors to shed light on the repayment of the loans.

enyarangi@standardmedia.co.ke

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