Jamaica News: The National Water Commission (NWC) will be writing off the debt of some customers who have been severely affected by the recent drought conditions.
Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr. made the announcement during a press conference at his New Kingston offices on Tuesday (September 24).
“The Government does recognise that this prolonged drought has had an intense impact on several communities. Residents in communities that were subjected to the frequent and prolonged service disruptions will be the beneficiaries of a bill redemption system under very specific conditions, and through specific procedures,” he said.
“The NWC will be collaborating with the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) to deliver a debt write-off to residents of the most hard-hit communities, and, so far, the NWC has written off in excess of $50 million from these communities,” he noted.
For his part, NWC President, Mark Barnett, said the write-off will cost between $100 million and $150 million.
“We’re giving the customers the opportunity to start afresh with the NWC, meaning whatever balances they may have on their bills… we will be writing off those balances, but it will be focused in certain communities and there are certain criteria that will have to be met,” he noted.
He said the notifications to customers who will benefit from the measure will be done through the Revenue Department of the NWC. He said that customers’ accounts will be adjusted internally and they will not have to visit the NWC offices.
“Customers don’t need to come in. We already have a database with all of the customers within the particular areas, and that is how we will be handling it,” he said.
Meanwhile, Minister Charles Jr. said the NWC will continue to truck water to residents severely affected by the dry spell.
“The National Water Commission will be procuring eight new trucks, and we’ll also be renovating six trucks for a total of 14 additional trucks that will assist in boosting the capacity of trucking,” he noted.
He said that water tanks have been distributed to help citizens store water.
“We have procured a number of tanks, I believe it was 15,000 for the initial phase, which have been primarily distributed across the Corporate Area to provide support to those citizens that we know are extremely affected by the prolonged drought,” he noted.
Source: JIS News