Samoa Water Authority bad debts hit $180,000

The Samoa Water Authority wrote off a total of about $180,000 in bad debts in the 2018-19 Financial Year.

This brings to more than $2.85 million the amount the Authority has written off over the past three financial years, according to the Authority’s annual reports. 

But in addition to the bad debts, the state-owned water utility also forecast a likely further future hit to its bottom line from the Authority’s debtors having trouble playing up.  

Water customers’ “impaired trade receivables” were listed for $2.3 million for the year under review.

(In accounting terms, impaired receivables relate to customers who have suggested they may not be able to repay an unknown amount of their outstanding debts.)

“The individually impaired receivables mainly relate to independent customers, which are in unexpectedly difficult economic situations,” the annual report said. 

“A portion of these receivables are expected not to be recovered.” 

According to the Authority's financial statements, bad debts reached $2.6 million in the 2016-17 Financial Year, before reaching their current peak. 

To date, emails requesting a comment from the S.W.A. Chief Executive Officer, Seugamaalii Jammie Saena, were not answered as of press time. 

The Samoa Observer also reached out to the Minister, Papalii Niko Lee Hang but did not hear back from him. 

The report also says the total trade receivables for 2018-19 for the year under review are $8.54 million. 

Trade receivables are an accounting term for money owed to a company. 

In 2017 the Samoa Observer reported that the Authority had requested a $2.6 million water bill be written off. 

Bad debts incurred include from Government Ministries, senior Government officials, schools, churches and businesses. 

The S.W.A. collected $140,182 in revenue from its flat rate consumers. 

Some $6.4 million was collected from commercial-metered consumers while $11.76 million in revenue was generated from domestic customers. 

More than $500,000 was collected from “other water services revenue” such as connection and reconnection fees, connection transfers, unregistered connections, road crossing, and water deliveries. 

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