Senate asks Bungoma, Trans Nzoia counties to split water firm

 Trans Nzoia Governor George Natembeya (left) and his Bungoma counterpart Ken Lusaka. [File, Standard]

The Senate has asked Bungoma Governor Kenneth Lusaka and his Trans Nzoia counterpart George Natembeya to expedite the process of splitting Nzoia Water Service Company Limited.

Senate County Public Investments and Special Funds Committee Chairperson Vihiga Senator Godfrey Osotsi said it was time for Bungoma and Trans Nzoia counties to each have a water company since the ownership of the Nzoia Water Service Company Limited remains unclear.

Osotsi said that the management of the water company was at crossroads since they are torn between the two counties which are in a tag of war over the operations and called for the involvement of the Water Service Regulatory Board to ensure that the process is done well.

“I am directing that Bungoma and Trans Nzoia counties to continue offering full support to the Nzoia Water Company for the time being as the process of having the company split into two so that each county can have its own water company in place in the next few months,” he said.

Dr Lusaka who appeared before the committee in Nairobi said that divorce was looming between Bungoma and Trans Nzoia counties as far as the running of the water firm is concerned.

The Bungoma governor noted that the water company has Sh4.6 billion liabilities and they have initiated discussions on how to share the same together with the assets.

He told the committee that together with Trans Nzoia Governor they have formed an eight member task force to look into the matter and it is their view that assets belonging to the company in respective counties to remain as new companies are formed.

“The leadership of Bungoma and Trans Nzoia counties is in agreement that there is need for split Nzoia Water Service Company Limited, I will be engaging my Trans Nzoia colleague George Natembeya to ensure the process is done with precision and concluded as soon as possible,” said Dr Lusaka.

The Auditor General’s report, shed light on several disconcerting financial inconsistencies and instances of non-compliance within the water firm during the fiscal years 2018/2019 and 2019/2020.

The committee demanded to know why the company, entrusted with the provision of water and sanitation services, reported a profit of Sh 7.8 million in 2019/2020, but reported a Sh16.3 million loss of in 2020/2021.

This alarming financial downturn coincided with ongoing issues concerning non-revenue water which surged to an all-time high of 56 per cent.

Despite the company's deteriorating performance, board expenses increased to 69 per cent.