NWSC’s Mugisha to speak on efficiencies in service delivery

Who is Dr. Eng Silver Mugisha?
I am the Managing Director of National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC), one of the best performing water utilities in Africa. I have over 20 years’ experience in water utility operations, international policy, research and aisory services. I have provided aisory services through the NWSC-External Services to various organisations in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Trinidad and Tobago, India, among others. I also hold several positions in a number of international institutions.

Currently I am the Vice President (East Africa) of the Executive Board of African Water Association (AfWA) and also a Board member of the International Water Association (IWA). I am also a fellow of IWA and a fellow of Netherlands SENSE Research School. I have authored a book (published by IWA Publishing) titled, “Utility Benchmarking and Regulation in Developing Countries: Practical Application of Performance Monitoring and Incentives”, and published over twenty (20) policy and research papers in several peer-reviewed journals.

How many Thought leaders forums have you attended and what did you take away from them?
I attended last year’s forum and also made a presentation on: “Thought Leadership in the Face of a Storm: Application to Utilities in Developing Countries”. What I took out of the forum is that the business environment is dynamic and the forums provide a good opportunity for the leaders to network but most importantly share lessons on new innovations covering the trends and topics that influence business growth and sustainability.

This year’s theme is “Surfing the Tsunami”. What does this mean to NWSC ?
The topic is very relevant to NWSC, the market we are operating in right now is very dynamic and can be described as a “Tsunami” with the increasing challenges in provision of water services due to the rapid urbanization, increasing in population and a number of other factors.

‘Surfing the Tsunami’ in our case has been through implementation of a five year strategic direction which provides a shared vision and sets the tone of the Corporation, the re-engagement of the staff and stakeholders and establishing service accountability mechanisms such as the infrastructure service delivery plans and a water stabilization plan. So far we are on track with our SD implementation our geographical coverage has increased from 27 towns to 70 towns.

This is a significant transformation in the business and service penetration levels of the Corporation and has redefined NWSC’s role in Uganda’s Water Sector and service delivery. Our performance has also continued to improve. For instance our monthly turn-over has increased from about Shs13bn= during the FY201213 to Shs18.5bn= and the customer base has also increased from 317,000 as at the end of June 2013 to over 378,000. Our capacity to increase the water network asset length has increased from 80Km per annum prior to FY 201314 to a current level of 1,400Km per annum.

What do you make of the efforts to encourage entrepreneurship strong business performance in the country?
I believe that encouraging entrepreneurship and strong business performance is key to achieving Uganda’s Vision 2040 as a country, given that this will create more higher-value jobs, and nurture companies which will prosper in regional and international markets.
Our biggest strength as a country is, a pro-business government that is supportive of new companies and also passionate about strong business performance. It is not just the responsibility of government but everyone’s responsibility. The environment is favourable now, which makes it much easier to embark on and explore entrepreneurship.

What are some of the constraints to business performance facing NWSC?
The main constraintschallenges faced by NWSC include: (i) deteriorating raw water quality, (ii) rapid urban population growth causing demand to outstrip our capacity and resulting in water shortages, (iii) water theft and illegal water use, (iv)ounterfeit and poor quality products on the market and (v) inadequate physical planning to cater for rehabilitation and expansion of public utility infrastructure etc. We are addressing the above challenges through the following ways: (i) systematic rehabilitation, upgrade and expansion of infrastructure to step-up production capacities and to improve supply reliability and service coverage, (ii) pro-active community-based illegal use reduction programmes, (iii) enhanced in-house capacity for inspection of materials, goods and services, (iv) improved engagement of urban authorities to minimize the challenges of inadequate physical planning and (v) increased involvement in catchment protection initiatives.

How important is the Thought Leaders Forum?
Forums such as the Thought Leaders Forum are very important as they bring together business thought leaders and CEOs, and provide an opportunity to share, network, dialogue and explore non-traditional approaches and new innovations of addressing prevailing leadership issues and business challenges.

What are the big projects at NWSC right now?
As part of the NWSC five-year strategic direction we are implementing bi-annual infrastructure service delivery programmes and annual water supply stabilization plans, on a rolling basis. These two initiatives are aimed at providing for network expansion and reducing water supply shortages in the short to medium term. Given that these are bi-annual and annual programmes, they provide for flexibility and will thus be more adaptive and responsive to the different forms of water supply challenges.

What is your take on the key note speaker of the day, Mr Vimal Shah?
With his experience in business and entrepreneurship, I have no doubt that he is the right person to deliver the key note speech. There is a lot to learn from him and his experience.

editorial@ug.nationmedia.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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