Northern Region Water Board (NRWB) chief executive officer Titus Mtegha has said the $12 million Paladin Africa Hi-tech Water Plant which only worked for five years remains idle due to failure by authorities to listen to technical advice.
Briefing Minister of Forestry and Natural Resources Nancy Tembo when she toured the plant on Friday, he alleged Paladin ignored technical advice from the board’s engineers.
“Karonga is surviving on an initiative made by NRWB and not Paladin. Paladin never listened to our technical advice, we even wrote letters of complaints to government on the same; but there was no response,” Mtegha said.
He argued that the development has brought tension between NRWB and the people of Karonga who were promised free water by Paladin.
“Paladin’s arrogance has landed NRWB in trouble. Their plant only worked from 2010 to 2015, thereafter we abandoned it and came up with another plant because we could not manage their technology,” said Mtegha.
In an interview, Tembo said the arrangement with Paladin was a mistake and a lesson for the ministry to pay attention to professional advice from technocrats implementing projects on the ground.
Following the failed and abandoned Paladin water plant, NRWB has now embarked on a $26.8 million water project that will upgrade the current water treatment plant from 12 million litres to 31 million litres.
It will also increase storage tanks capacity by 10 million litres. Its construction works are expected to start in February next year.