By BONIFACE MULU
On Monday, March 22, 2021- KITWASCO held 4th annual meeting in their offices -To state the obvious, the 2020 has been a year like no other, the Managing Director of the Kitui Water and Sanitation Company Limited Geoffrey K. Kiita has said.
“The world has been living through troubled times and the KITWASCO has not been immune. The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting us all in one way or another and the recovery process will be long and gradual,” he added.“I am optimistic about the future and confident that we are well positioned to ride out the ups and downs of the COVID and emerge strongly on the other side,” Kiita said.
He was speaking during the company’s 4th annual general meeting held at the Kitui Multipurpose Development Training Institute recently where the Kitui County Agriculture, Water and Irrigation Minister Meshack K. Muthusi was the chief guest at the function.
The participants were from Kitui and Machakos Counties. The KITWASCO with its headquarters in Kitui Town was established in 2006 and it covers the Kitui County and some parts of the Machakos County.The company is under the Kitui County Agriculture, Water and Irrigation Ministry. Kiita said that the KITWASCO has always remained strong and secure.
“Importantly, it is the strength of our organisation and our operating model that will see us bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic downturn as well,” the water company chief said. And he added: “I would like to start with a quick overview of our strategic plan implementation to the year 2019-2020.
We have achieved great milestones in implementing our five thematic areas of water and infrastructure development, operational efficiency, customer satisfaction, financial sustainability, institutional development strengthening and effective corporate governance.” According to him, the company is implementing its 2017-2021 strategic plan.
He said that they started the financial year very strongly and they were on track for an increased performance before “this monster COVID struck.” “However, we also recognised that the full force of this pandemic on our performance would only start playing out over a longer timeframe,” the MD said.
He also said the company incurred in extra COVID costs for items such as the additional cleaning, sanitisation supplies and equipment for the staff. “But as the pandemic dragged on, the government assistance started to trickle in through the Kitui County government, the Water Sector Trust Fund and other members of good will.
This has immensely helped us to remain afloat,” the MD said. “That is not to say things are back to normal. We are being very cautious and watching our expenses extremely carefully as we navigate through the COVID recovery process,” the hydrologist said.
We are well placed to ride out the turmoil of this pandemic and perform strongly in the years ahead I am excited about what the future holds, he said. Kiita noted that while they inherently act with positive outcomes in mind, they have not previously spelt out their commitments explicitly.
“However, we understand that the stakeholders are increasingly judging the performance of the orgaisations. We intend to build on this in coming years,” Kiita said.The KITWASCO Managing Director said the water service provision is a dynamic industry with new developments such as the increased technology changing the way we operate, the skills we need and the way our teams need to be structured.
“We need to ensure we continue to adjust our organisation to reflect those changing needs,” he said. He announced that they have automated a number of departments to bring in new ways that will enable them to build a modern company that can deliver future success for their staff.
“Through automation in the procurement and finance departments as well as in the human resources, this dream will be realised. Our workforce must continue to change and a silver lining of the COVID has been an acceleration across the country of greater flexibility in our working arrangements,” the KITWASCO official said.
“In reference to our workforce, we have been more productive than ever before despite the trying circumstances. I am full of admiration for the team.That is my sincere honour to lead and would also like to thank my colleagues in the CMT for their wisdom and leadership and counsel and not forgetting the board members for their guidance and stewardship of the KITWASCO.
This is a strong and resilient organisation,” Kiita said. The officer announced that they (the KITWASCO) get some 90 per cent of the water from the Masinga Dam in Masinga District, Machakos County. “And we get the ten per cent from the boreholes and other sources,” he added.
The expert also announced that they are controlling the company’s non revenue water (NRW) for the good of the company and the members of the public. “We have managed to reduce the NRW to some 54 per cent from 62 per cent and we are now trying to reduce the 54 per cent to some 39 per cent,” the water company leader said.
And in his speech, the Kitui County Agriculture, Water and Irrigation Minister Meshack K. Muthusi said: “I am delighted to welcome you all to our company’s 4th annual general meeting.” “ It may be a different setting than what we are normally used to.
However, it is wonderful to see so many of you joining in from different parts of the country. Thank you for joining us,” the minister said.
All of us have felt the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has created across the world and within the company, Muthusi said. “We started the business continuity planning process well ahead of the crisis keeping in mind the safety and security of our employees and the need for greater customer centricity,” the minister said.
Going forward, the company is focused on strengthening its position through this period of uncertainty by staying close to our customers and enabling them to connect the water during the pandemic’s challenging times, he added.
Muthusi said the KITWASCO is a company with a clear vision, mission and objectives that guide it in its performance. “It is the company’s responsibility as a water service provider to give water and sewerages services within the area specified by the licence as they embrace the core values of transparency and accountability, integrity, professionalism, teamwork, creativity and innovation,” he said.
I believe we are in a competitive position with a sound strategy, a solid business and a great team. We are focused on our path forward and committed to enhancing service delivery, the minister said. “I would like to thank our customers and the employees of the company for their commitment, efforts and initiative,” Muthusi said.
“Thank you everyone. Please stay safe and healthy and hopefully this time next year. We will be able to meet again,” he said.
The Kitui County Secretary, Dr. Joshua K. Chepchieng, who also addressed the occasion, said: “Water is life and we are dealing with a very precious commodity. And we want to do the best step to get that life.” This is a very viable company, the County Secretary said regarding the KITWASCO.
During the occasion, the company’s retiring board directors were officially replaced by the new ones. Chepchieng wished the retired and their successors all the best. “Serving the community is a privilege, not a pride,” he said.
The work ahead of us is very heavy, he told the new directors. A Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) Kitui County official James Ngene also addressed the event. Ngene had represented the KNCCI Kitui County Chairman Duncan K. Singi at the function.
Meanwhile, this year’s International Forests Day has not been marked in Kitui County as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Forests restoration: a path to recovery and well-being” was this year’s theme.
The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the March 21 the International Forests Day in 2012 to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests.