16 de Ago de 2022

Nacional

Drowning in unpaid bills

PANAMA. The National Water and Sewage Institute (IDAAN) is floundering in debt and requires investments of $530 million if it is to imp...

PANAMA. The National Water and Sewage Institute (IDAAN) is floundering in debt and requires investments of $530 million if it is to improve its service, its director, Manuel Gonzalez Ruiz, said.

He said that IDAAN’s deficit last year alone stands at $39 million and, in total, IDAAN is owed $120 million in unpaid bills.

Gonzalez said that the $120 million is owed by a combination of individuals, business and government offices.

He said that he only expects to recuperate 20% of this during the current administration because “there is some debt that is not recoverable”. He did not specify which of the three sectors owes the most.

Of the $530 million needed to improve IDAAN’s services, Gonzalez said $200 million was needed to improve drinking water supply and $330 to improve sewage treatment services. He said IDAAN will press for bills to be paid and will start to cut off water supplies for those with outstanding debts.

He said that IDAAN was also looking at different mechanisms to increase revenue and was considering increasing the monthly sewage bill to 50% of the amount charged for water. He also said that only 45% of the 400 million gallons produced daily was billed for and that poorer people were not always able to pay for their water.