WASA to hire debt collectors

Peo­ple ow­ing WASA mon­ey could find them­selves fac­ing debt col­lec­tors as the Wa­ter and Sew­er­age Au­thor­i­ty is seek­ing to hire a com­pa­ny to re­trieve the $700M plus that is owed to the com­pa­ny. Min­is­ter of Pub­lic Util­i­ties, Robert Le Hunte con­firmed this to Guardian Me­dia yes­ter­day in re­sponse to no­tice put out by WASA.

Le Hunte said: “This is an on­go­ing process that WASA start­ed with its amnesty and its a process like any or­gan­i­sa­tion.”

 

He con­tin­ued: “For any or­gan­i­sa­tion, for it to be vi­able, when they pro­vide a ser­vice they have to get paid. Oth­er­wise, if you don’t then the or­gan­i­sa­tion will not be able to run. It wouldn’t be sus­tain­able.”

In the Re­quest for Pro­pos­al that was is­sued yes­ter­day, WASA iden­ti­fied a de­sire to en­gage with a debt col­lec­tion agency. Le Hunte said that amnesty, which was an­nounced months ago in­vit­ed peo­ple who owed the or­gan­i­sa­tion mon­ey, as well as those “who have il­le­gal con­nec­tions to come in.”

Le Hunte said: “We did sig­nal at the end of that amnesty that if peo­ple didn’t come in to make arrange­ments, that this would fol­low.”

When asked about the time frame for im­ple­men­ta­tion on the col­lec­tion of out­stand­ing debt, Le Hunte said that he did not know and that de­ci­sion is left up to the com­pa­ny ex­ec­u­tives. He said: “I don’t mi­cro­man­age the com­pa­ny like that, that’s for the board of di­rec­tors and man­age­ment to see about.”

“So I sus­pect they are putting their sys­tems in place to try and col­lect the mon­ey, or some of the mon­ey, that’s what they have done af­ter the amnesty,” said Le Hunte.

The min­is­ter said that he un­der­stood the im­por­tance of the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s need to col­lect its debts. He said, in or­der “for WASA to be able to do the busi­ness and pro­vide the ser­vice that cit­i­zens are call­ing for, they need to be in a po­si­tion to have the cash flow.”

As a re­sult, Le Hunte said that WASA will im­ple­ment the mea­sures nec­es­sary to col­lect some of the mon­ey that is out­stand­ing with­in the purview of the law.

Le Hunte not­ed: “I al­so recog­nise that peo­ple com­plain about the ser­vice that WASA gives, but it is a chick­en and an egg. You need the mon­ey to pro­vide the ser­vice and if you don’t have the mon­ey, you wouldn’t get the ser­vice.”

Le Hunte said that he un­der­stands that there are peo­ple who prob­a­bly not get­ting the ser­vice while pay­ing, “but there are in­di­vid­u­als who get ser­vice.” He said: “There are around 50 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion that get wa­ter 24/7. At least we have to en­sure that they are pay­ing.”

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