Platform Anti Privatizasion Dilo - Privatization Of Water in Mauritius

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Honourable Pravin Kumar Jugnauth,

Prime Minister,

Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications

and National Development Unit,

Minister of Finance and Economic Development,

Port Louis

 

Honourable Prime Minister,

We thank you and are grateful to you for the time you will take to consider this letter signed by a group of concerned citizens.

At the moment we are confronted to a decision of the Ministry of Public Utilities to proceed with the privatization of the Central Water Authority through the Public Private Partnership process.

We stand by the fact that privatization of water and its distribution will place a heavy toll on consumers as a profit making organization would in its logic raise the price of water that would make it unaffordable to many.

Honourable Prime Minister, you are sensible to the human rights of each individual fellow citizen for access and affordability to water and as such cannot be left in the management of profit motivated companies. Poor communities are deprived of a fundamental and inalienable human right as water becomes a costly commodity.

We are aware that water resources have become a sort of ransom for many African countries who would receive WB/IMF funds on conditions that they privatize their utilities including water.

Also, G8 group of countries are imposing privatization of water as a condition to obtain debt relief and further aid, like has been the case in South Africa with six contracts awarded to six French companies.

The impact of this decision has been catastrophic: environmental pollution, diseases otherwise preventable, and violence among the neighbours increased as people were forced to steal water to survive. Moreover, the rates have increased by more than 400% between 1995 and 2000.

In Ghana, a similar setback has affected the population following privatization water charges increased by 95 %.

In England and Wales private water companies didn’t invest in infrastructure claiming profitability would be compromised. Consumers saw their rates increase by 102% and the number of people whose supply were cut rose by 200%.

Honourable Prime Minister, we have every reason to believe that the very nature of water privatization entails a host of problems:

a)      rate increases

b)      undermines quality of water

c)      artificial redundancy and job losses

d)      reduces local control and public rights

e)      fosters bad governance and corruption

f)       risks of bulk water exports to the detriment of the population

g)      once privatization is on it is difficult and costly to reverse it.

h)      Costs to the public are more than Government Financing.

It is a universal standpoint that water as a basic need is a human right. Consequently, we have a duty not to hand over our rights to private entities whose only motivation is making undue profit to the detriment of the public interest.

By virtue of its nature water is a public property which therefore requires public oversight through the State mechanism for whom profit is not the primary aim.

Government has already collected a sum of MR 3 b. through the Build Mauritius Fund from the tax on fuel for the replacement of pipes.

Honourable Prime Minister, we are hereby making a strong appeal to your personal intervention in this matter of water privatization in our Republic. We are confident that you will entertain our appeal because there is a real risk of pauperization of consumers with privatization.



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