By Kevin Githuku
A water crisis has hit Entebbe Regional Referral Hospital after the National Water and Sewerage Corporation cut supply due to accumulated unpaid bills amounting to Shs488 million.
This has affected the provision of essential healthcare services to the approximately 3.7 million people served by the hospital across six districts.
It follows a number of notices previously issued to the hospital.
Richard Tumwesigye, a senior administrator at the hospital, says the annual allocation to cover water in the hospital is about Shs120m.
A June 1st letter from the Ministry of Finance to the Managing Director, National Water and Sewerage Corporation indicates that the ministry had noted with concern, the delayed payments and stated that government would cater for the arrears in the medium term.
The ministry further requested National Water to reconnect the water with commitments that funds owed would be provided.
The corporation, however, responded the next day, declining the ministry’s request, while emphasizing the urgent need at hand.
Henry Musasizi, the state Minister of Finance attributed the crisis to poor planning and reiterated the government’s commitment to ensuring the dues are paid and water reconnected.
“The major cause is poor planning. We are going to pay the bills and the hospital will run normally”.
The water crisis however has been a trend in a number of government ministries and agencies, as noted by Dr Silver Mugisha, the corporation’s Managing Director, with over Shs.19 billion owed, in unpaid water bills between July 2022 to March 2023.
The Ministry of Finance however has accepted to budget for and clear the arrears.
The development comes as Naguru Referral Hospital also faces a similar crisis, with its water supply disconnected because it owes Shs1.3 billion.