Cabinet approval needed for WASA executive packages

WASA chairman Ravindra Nanga. - File photo
WASA chairman Ravindra Nanga. - File photo

One last obstacle remains before the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) embarks on its restructuring exercise, which will see over 200 managers sent home, according to Ravindra Nanga, the chairman of the state company.

Nanga said the authority is awaiting Cabinet approval for the remuneration packages to be offered to nine new senior executives, eight of whom have already been recruited.

He said this was the final step before the restructuring process promised by Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales will begin.

Speaking at the commissioning of the Las Lomas Well #12, Las Lomas No 1 on April 6, Gonzales said a report laid in Parliament in 2016 suggested restructuring the management from 426 to 210 managers.

“Restructuring and re-organisation are part of the strategy to make WASA more sustainable. In addition to reducing the number of managers, the report spoke of introducing technology. So we can reduce the cost of operation as opposed to relying a lot on manual labour, as all of these things are necessary to re-engineer the organisation and by doing that, we reduce organisational costs and you improve the financial standing of the organisation.”

Gonzales said the restructuring would be carried out on a phased basis.

“The first part of it is the executive leadership and as we go deeper into the bargaining unit, once the necessary consultations are held with the union, then the re-organisation will continue.”

Nanga said the senior executive, once confirmed, will assist in the next step of the restructuring.

“The 426 people, some of the positions are represented by the union. When we get to that level, before we can make any changes to the structure, we must consult with the unions. We are in the process of formulating our position but we are awaiting the top nine executive positions to assist us in formulating the position before going out with the unions. It’s only after consultation with the unions that there will be a final position in terms of people going home.”

Nanga distinguished between the board, comprised of commissioners, and the senior executive level.

“As chairman, I’m a commissioner on the board of WASA, and a commissioner would be, for example, a senior supervisor or an assistant CEO.

“The senior executive positions under the CEO would be directors, so currently we have a CEO, we have a director of operations, a director of human resources, etc, so those top nine positions would be a CEO and eight directors under him.”

Nanga gave further details on the structure of WASA.

“There is a line Minister, the Minister of Public Utilities, and he would appoint a board of commissioners, which I chair. The board are political appointees appointed by the Line Minister so that every election, if there is a new minister, there may or may not be a new board, and if there is a change in government, there will almost certainly be a new board.”

He said in 2015, there was a new minister and a new board was appointed, which happened again in 2020.

“This board would have gone in there and met an executive that was employed by the authority. As members of the board, we are not employed by the authority, we are appointed by the minister.”

He said the senior executive must be in place and consultation with the union must take place before changes can take place at the managerial level.

Nanga said the board has set up a roundtable to deal with the potential effects of the transformation.

“There would be a certain degree of uncertainty, but on a monthly basis, the current CEO issues releases as to where we are in relation to the transformation, and we try to reassure the managers that no decision will be taken until there is consultation with the union at that level.”

Nanga said WASA has been carrying out various projects so that the restructuring will not affect the delivery of water to customers, including signing memoranda of understanding with NGC to assist with pipes and Lake Asphalt for road restoration, the introduction of technology into delivery, a customer cadastral project, and the Community Water Improvement Programme (CWIP).


"Cabinet approval needed for WASA executive packages"

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