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September 17, 2012 12:00:00 AM
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More than 25,000 Fijian households, businesses, schools and places of worship will benefit from a government decision to waive the debts they owe to the Water Authority of Fiji (WAF) for years of unpaid water and sewerage bills.

Unpaid bills amounting to almost $14million will be waived, benefiting about one hundred thousand Fijians throughout the country.

Attorney General and Minister for Public Enterprise Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in a statement said the government recognises that some customers simply cannot afford to pay their outstanding bills as many of these arrears have built up over the years and settling them is beyond the means of many ordinary people.

He said many people have been worried about how they would meet their obligation and this decision means that they can now rest easy.
The waiver applies to 25,529 accounts with the following partial breakdown: 22,345 domestic account customers or ordinary households and 954 schools and religious organisations.

Customers have a three month window from October 1 to December 31 to make contact with WAF to discuss their cases.

Each account is going to be investigated individually and the debt forgiven on a case-by-case basis.

According to the Water Authority, plumbing leakages are the main reason why some customers have incurred high bills and got behind in their payments.

More than twenty thousand accounts suffered from plumbing leakages, with total losses of $6.3-million dollars.

WAF will be making an announcement with more details later this week.

By Ropate Valemei

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