http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/2017-12- ... -employees
Cash-strapped Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) is overstaffed by 2,000 employees.
The figure was given by Public Utilities Minister Robert Le Hunte, who said the overstaffing has been putting a heavy financial burden on the State-owned company, which has been saddled with a $5 billion debt.
As a result, Le Hunte said WASA will have to be restructured and a strategic plan developed to make it a sustainable and viable entity.
“WASA is about 60 to 70 per cent overstaffed. All WASA needs is about 3,000 workers,” Le Hunte said at his Woodbrook office on Thursday. WASA currently has on its payroll 5,200 daily and monthly-paid workers.
Le Hunte said when the PNM demitted office in 2010, WASA's staff was 3,700.
“At that time, WASA was 20 per cent overstaffed.”
From 2010 to 2015, Le Hunte said WASA went on a rigorous recruitment drive.
Asked if the restructuring process will result in job cuts, Le Hunte said it was too early to tell.
“I have been trying to utilise the staff and put them into productive use.”
Repairs to leaking pipelines, landscaping work and installation of pipelines which were done by contractors are now undertaken by WASA's in-house staff.
“For too long there have been unproductive levels at WASA which were condoned.”
In going forward, Le Hunte said this has to change through proper management and supervision.Rate increases coming next year
Le Hunte also expressed dissatisfaction with WASA's operational efficiency and poor customer service and communication, which he promised to address early next year.
“It is unacceptable that we have people in the country who are getting water once a week or none at all.”
Le Hunte said WASA should set a target for 70 to 80 per cent of the population to receive water three to four times a week.
“The citizens of the country subsidise WASA with over $3 billion a year.”
While there is no overnight solution to WASA's lingering problem, Le Hunte said corrective measures must be put in place.
“To fix WASA's problems you need capital expenditure to the tune of $10 billion. That is to install residential, industrial and commercial meters, changing of old pipelines, repairing leaks and setting up of desalination plants. That is money we do not have.”
Installation of meters will cost WASA between $2 to $3 billion.
Le Hunte said statistics showed that T&T use between five to seven times more water than other countries.
“Two things drive this…our cheap water rates and we don't have a mechanism for metering. We are working with some agencies to see how we can fund a metering programme with some kind of public/private arrangement.”
Next year, the Regulated Industries Commission will increase WASA and T&TEC's rates.