The Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA) Faisalabad is running a monthly deficit of Rs 170 million, which has plunged the department into a severe financial crisis.
The modest subsidy provided by the Punjab government has been frozen for the last 8 years while the tariff on WASA utility bills has not been increased by a single penny for the last 14 years. WASA officials have demanded a bailout package of Rs 3 billion to get the department back on its feet, but the Punjab government has remained silent on the issue.
WASA Faisalabad’s total expenditure per month is estimated at Rs. 270 million while WASA’s revenue is close to Rs. 100 million. Thus, WASA Faisalabad is facing a deficit of Rs. 170 million per month. And despite this huge deficit, WASA officials are working to provide quality drainage and water supply services to citizens. What is the reason why WASA Faisalabad has suffered from such a big financial crisis? Details have come to light that the Punjab government provides an annual subsidy of Rs 262 million to WASA Faisalabad and this subsidy have been frozen since 2013 while WASA’s tariff on the bill sent to its customers is the same as in 2006 is and in the last 14 years, this tariff has not been increased by a single rupee.
It is the responsibility of WASA department to provide clean water to the citizens and meet the basic needs of sewerage drainage for which WASA Faisalabad has to incur huge expenses. According to WASA documents, WASA Faisalabad spends Rs. 950 per month to supply drinking water to a customer while the average bill of this user is Rs. 120 per month. Similarly, the cost per user for drainage of sewage water is Rs. 778 while the average user has to pay only Rs. 87. Thus, after an expenditure of Rs. 1728, WASA Faisalabad has to submit a bill of Rs. 207. But if you look at the subsidy provided by the Punjab government, it is only Rs 48 per consumer. While WASA is giving a total subsidy of Rs. 1621 to each consumer and even if the subsidy of Rs 48 provided by the government is included, WASA Faisalabad is still running a deficit of Rs 1,573 to meet the basic needs of each of its customers.
According to WASA documents, the Punjab government is currently providing the lowest subsidy to WASA in the province, which is only Rs 48 per connection per month. While WASA Lahore is being provided Rs 110 per connection, WASA Gujranwala Rs 101, WASA Multan Rs 96 and WASA Rawalpindi Rs 89 subsidy. Thus, WASA Faisalabad is incurring a deficit of Rs. 170 million per month for the provision of basic amenities to the citizens, as a result of which the total deficit of the department has now exceeded Rs. 780 millions.