Samoa Water Authority losses climb to $54.3 million

The Samoa Water Authority's accumulated losses climbed to reach $54.35 million for the 2018 Financial Year. 

The new losses are revealed in the Authority’s annual report for the Financial Year (F.Y.) of 2018. In the previous financial year there was a loss of $53.54 million.

The S.W.A. operating net profit is $218,187 which is a decrease from $2.06 million generated in the previous financial year. The bad debts recovered for F.Y. 2018 is $330,782 an increased from $116,962 in the F.Y. 2017. 

The report says that the Authority continues to positively progress in providing quality service to our customers in return for them to become more willing to pay for services. 

“Extreme measures continue to be implemented to collect long outstanding water debts and in November [2017] S.W.A. started a weekly mobile collection run for Upolu rural areas with Savaii coming on board in the next financial year. 

“A collection booth at Mulifanua wharf will also open in the next financial year to make water bill payments more accessible to our customers, adding on to Vaitele market, Asau office, Samoa Post and Commercial banks. 

“Improvements contributed to the consistent increase in revenue by 7 per cent and collection by 5 percent from past year. 

“Expenses however increased due to S.W.A. hosting the Pacific Water and Wastewater forum in August 2017 as well as increase in operation and maintenance of infrastructure assets to address non-revenue water.” 

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The report highlighted the drop in net profit in comparison to last year as Community Service Obligation (C.S.O.’s) decreased from $3.4 million to $1.9 million and S.W.A. made up for the shortfall in community service obligations. 

“S.W.A.’s return of equity is at 0.3 percent below the R.O.E. policy of Government of 7 percent but 50 percent Dividend has been declared for 2016/2017 profit and currently paid,” said the report. 

Also highlighted in the S.W.A. financial statements is the write offs of $82,631 for F.Y. 2018 and $2.60 million in F.Y. 2017. 

In October last year the Samoa Observer reported a $2.60 million water bill, which the Samoa Water Authority (S.W.A.) had requested to be written off. These includes debts incurred by Government Ministries, senior Government officials, schools, churches and businesses. 

The outstanding bills were highlighted in records provided by the Samoa Water Authority C.E.O, Seugamaali’i Jammie Saena, which was part of correspondence dated 22 May 2018 to the Parliamentary Infrastructure Sector Committee. 

According to the list, water bills incurred by private and public schools amount to $16,736.81, churches $27,380.09, Government ministries and corporations $39,159.63, businesses and organisations $68,113.75 and individuals $2.45 million. 

According to the finance report a total of $18.09 million was collected from water services revenue an increase from $17 million from the previous year. Administration expenses increased to $3.06 million from $2.18 million in 2017. 

The S.W.A. report stated one of the major issues impacting the works of the Authority was its financial situation when there was a reduction of its Community Service Obligation (C.S.O.) allocation by 50% which funded three8 of its major expenses. 

“These Community Service Obligations are statutory obligations pursuant to the Public Bodies (Performance and Accountability) Act 2001 and must be discharged by the Authority as part of its social obligations to the community. 

“These C.S.O.s are for the most part not economically advantageous for the Authority but undertaking must be done so as to comply with directions issued for C.S.O.s The funding from Government for these C.S.O.s. is intended to counter the financial load these C.S.O.s have on the Authority’s financial sustainability but with recent cuts the challenge presented is compounded even more.” 

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