Connect with us

Business & Management

Researchers Trained on New Methodologies of Improving Customer Water bill Payment Behaviour

Published

on

By Jane Anyango

Over 40 Makerere University researchers from the School of Economics were on 14th October, 2021 trained on new methodologies of information treatment into improving Water bills payments in Uganda and other countries.

The training held virtually and physically was organized and hosted by the Environment for Development Imitative (EfD-Mak) Centre.

The seminar was facilitated by Dr. David Fuente from the School of Earth, Ocean and Environment, University of South Carolina USA.

Dr. David Fuente delivering his presentation online.
Dr. David Fuente delivering his presentation online.

Dr. Fuente presented a number of studies conducted in different countries including Kenya and Ethiopia under the theme, “Testing information treatments to improve the Financial   sustainability of water utilities”. The studies according to Dr. Fuente are premised on the Global water sanitation and infrastructure challenge and the Sustainable Development Goal on provision of safe and affordable water sanitation for all by 2030.

He said policy makers face the challenge of raising water prices and improving customer bill payment behaviour noting that both are politically difficult.

“Water infrastructure is capital intensive, but largely out of public view. Improving customer awareness of the capital intensity of water supply and sanitation service delivery may increase customer perception of, “fair” water prices, however, mode of information treatment likely matters and further research is needed”, the facilitator said.

Some of the Lecturers that attended the training.
Some of the Lecturers that attended the training.

Dr. David Fuente explained that customer arrears are a chronic problem in the water and sanitation sector in the global South which undermines utilities financial stability.

“Arrears undermine tilities financial stability. For example, in South Africa, households owed municipal governments 40 billion Rand (about 4 billion USD). In Kampala Uganda, 57% of residential customers accounts have arrears while in Nairobi Kenya, 60% of customers have arrears”, he cited.

Despite the challenge, Dr. Fuente observed that, very limited work on why customers do not pay their bills and common assumptions may be wrong and lead to substantial policy mistakes.

A section of participants that attended the seminar.
A section of participants that attended the seminar.

“Simple, low-cost information treatments may improve customer behavior, but evidence is needed and are likely to be panacea.Policy makers need to think carefully about deploying multiple, well targeted policy instruments to improve customer payment behavior”, he stated.

Dr. Fuente provided insights from a series of literature and studies from Kenya, Ethiopia and South Africa that examined customer perceptions of, “fair” water prices and information treatments to improve customer bill payment behaviour.

The studies sought to address whether information treatments can improve customer bill payments and which treatments are more effective at improving customer bill payment. The general information treatment interventions discussed to improve bill payment included hard threats of disconnection for non-payment, soft encouragement that informs tenants, simple payment reminders and routine billing information, use of subsidies, sanctions, moral suasion.

Another section of participants that attended the training.
Another section of participants that attended the training.

The goals of these studies were to reduce arrears and bill-nonpayment to improve the financial stability of utilities; Boost the agency’s financial position to cater for its investments and to increase the social welfare from the agency’s investments.

In Uganda Dr. Fuente said there is proposal that is competing for Sida funds titled, “Using information treatments to improve water bill payments under the National Water and Sewerage Corporation”.

The Director EfD-Mak Centre Prof. Edward Bbaale said, such a study is practical and primary on how to create a shock in the perceptions of people so that they can start responding to paying their bills.

Prof. Edward Bbaale (standing) delivers the welcome remarks.
Prof. Edward Bbaale (standing) delivers the welcome remarks.

Prof. Bbaale said this training was important not only to the country and researchers, based on reason that these are new techniques of analysis that researchers at the EfD-Mak centre needed to pick up and get interested to undertake similar studies.

The Director expressed the need for water agencies to have financial stability to give a good service noting that what is being proposed is to make sure that financial stability of water agencies is improved.

Prof. Bbaale shared that water supply is capital intensive and requires a lot of money to lay pipes and maintain the treatment plants and yet customers comparatively pay less.  He said, to supply clean water, expand the reach and maintain constant water supply, water supply agencies require substantial resources.

A section of male participants listens to the proceedings during the traiA section of male participants listens to proceedings during the training. ning.
A section of male participants listens to proceedings during the training.

He noted that the National Water and Sewerage Corporation of Uganda is constrained by resources to maintain their supply and pipes and at the same time lack enough resources to reach the unserved areas.

“There is no study yet in Uganda that is trying to utilize the methodologies learnt into analyzing how to improve water bill payments in Uganda despite the common knowledge that many customers have payment arrears.

I am hopeful that the proposed study in Uganda will win the Sida grant and will go a long way in informing NWSC and government on how to improve water bill payments. And, if this study is implemented, it will be a great opportunity for us to see what findings come forth and what recommendations are put forward for government to improve water bill payment”. Prof. Bbaale stated.

Prof. Edward Bbaale appreciated that water supply agencies require substantial resources to fulfill their mandate.
Prof. Edward Bbaale appreciated that water supply agencies require substantial resources to fulfill their mandate.

Participants speak on the training

Dr. Oryem John Bosco, a Lecturer in the School of Economics described the training as a good collaboration and chance for researchers to understand what is going on with other researchers.

 “And in this case, understanding what research is going on in terms of utility payments and challenges that communities face in paying water bills is a good study which links with the SDGs and the national development goals.

 So understanding why payments delay and what can make people pay their water bills is a very good innovation. From this training and the proposed Uganda study, the facilitator is intending to craft messages to the water consumers to ensure that public utilities get the desired revenue that can make them operate without too much financial constraints”, Dr. Oryem commended.

Mr. Peter Babyenda the Policy Engagement Specialist in charge of coordinating the Inclusive Green Economy (IGE) training program who is also a PhD student thanked EfD-Mak center for organizing the wonderful training.

“The presentation is new to us, and it touches on of the key issue-water, where we have so many problems. I heard there is a proposal for Uganda which I am so interested in and can’t wait to see how this study goes. I am interested in the findings and to learn more on the methodologies”, Mr. Babyenda stated.

Jane Anyango is the Principal Communication Officer, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES)

Business & Management

MBA Shortlist for Graduate Admission Test (GAT) 2022/2023

Published

on

An aerial photo of L-R: The Main Library, Central Teaching Facility 2 (CTF2), School of Economics and School of Business (CoBAMS), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda.

The Academic Registrar, Makerere University, invites all shortlisted candidates who applied for the Master of Business Administration (MBA) programme offered at Makerere University Main Campus; College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS) for academic year 2022/2023 for a Graduate Admission Test (GAT).

The test is scheduled to take place on Saturday 27th August, 2022 starting 9:00 AM at CoBAMS.

Further information can be accessed by following the link:

Shortlist for Graduate Admission Test (GAT) 2022/2023

Continue Reading

Business & Management

Hon. Baryomunsi Launches Book with Pledge to continue Supporting Research

Published

on

Hon. Chris Baryomunsi signs a dummy of the Book "Academics, Research and Leadership in Institutions of Higher Learning: Experiences from Makerere University" signifying its launch on 29th July 2022.

The Minister for ICT and National Guidance, the Hon. Chris Baryomunsi today July 29, 2022, launched a book authored by 20 researchers of Makerere University.

The book titled “Academics, Research and Leadership in Institutions of Higher Learning: Experiences from Makerere University” details the research and training experiences of some academic units in Makerere University. The programs analyzed in the book include training of statisticians, population scientists, quantitative economists among others. The book documents past, present and emerging issues in training and research in the above fields. The book, according to Prof. Ben Kiregyera who gave the keynote address, makes the case for strengthening the infrastructure for training and research including technical and administrative leadership. The book also looks at the acquisition of new knowledge, strategic skills and competences in different disciplines to meet the 21st century development and data challenges.

Hon. Chris Baryomunsi challenged researchers to engage in new research areas such as robotics, nano-technology, big data, Internet of Things and integrate them in our day to day lives.
Hon. Chris Baryomunsi challenged researchers to engage in new research areas such as robotics, nano-technology, big data, Internet of Things and integrate them in our day to day lives.

Hon. Chris Baryomunsi, also a former lecturer in the department of population studies said the government would continue to support research and innovation because they drive development of the economy. “What we need to do better is engage policy makers in our research processes,” Dr. Baryomunsi advised. “Your research needs to inform government but you also have a role of simplifying statistics to the public”. He challenged researchers to engage in new research areas such as robotics, nano-technology, big data, Internet of Things and integrate them in our day to day lives.

Prof. Henry Alinaitwe, the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Finance and Administration, who represented the Vice Chancellor, applauded the authors of the book, saying they are greatly contributing to the research agenda of the university. He said the book will go a long way in informing decision making in the university, as the university moves into becoming a research led university.

Prof. Henry Alinaitwe delivers the remarks on behalf of the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe.
Prof. Henry Alinaitwe delivers the remarks on behalf of the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe.

The Principal of the College of Business and Management Science, Prof. Eria Hisali, who was represented by the Deputy Principal Prof. Bruno Yawe, congratulated the authors and editorsfor a job well done. “This is yet another reminder that a lot can be achieved when we are determined and when we choose to work closely together,” the Principal said.

The Principal told the authors, most of whom were drawn from CoBAMS that the college will be launching a special purpose vehicle for policy engagements called the Policy Labs. This will bring together policy makers, implementers, private sector actors, development partners and the academia to engage on topical policy issues. It will enable researchers to share the recommendations with a wider audience of policy makers and implementers.

Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi (2nd L), Prof. Eria Hisali (R) and other officials at the Book Launch.
Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi (2nd L), Prof. Eria Hisali (R) and other officials at the Book Launch.

The Director of Research and Graduate Training, Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi also congratulated the authors and reemphasized the university’s commitment to supporting research geared at finding home grown solutions to society challenges.

The coordinators of the book project, Prof. Abel Nzabona, shared with the audience the 5-year journey of writing the book.

The journey started in June 2018 when Prof. Ronald Wesonga (in the company of Dr. Fred Maniragaba) mentioned that he had a book idea and wanted Prof. Nzabona to coordinate the writing process. Prof Ronald Wesonga’s idea of the book was an academic document that was researched, evidence-based, informative, marketable and interesting to read. The team then set out on a journey or writing, vetting, peer-reviewing and manuscript writing, identifying editors and publishers. 

Part of the audience at the Book Launch.
Part of the audience at the Book Launch.

“We started off with just 4 chapters but never gave up. We intensified the popularization of the book idea and eventually reached the 15-chapter mark,” Prof. Nzabona said. The team was delighted to have been joined by colleagues from the College of Education and External Studies namely Dr David Onen and Prof. Fred Bakkabulindi.

The vision bearer and funder of the publication, Prof. Ronald Wesonga, in his remarks highlighted the objectives of the book which included:

  1. To Share evidence-based, data-driven experiences pertaining academics and research leadership at Makerere University.
  2. To Infer how leadership shapes academics and research outputs at universities
  3. To Provide viable recommendations based on findings from different studies
  4. To Contribute to the Mak@100 celebrations

The book Prof. Wesonga shared addresses the following research questions:

  1. What is the effect of leadership on excellence in academics? Addressed in seven chapters: {4,5,6,7,9,10,12}
  2. What is the effect of leadership on research outputs? Addressed in six chapters: {2,3,8,11,13,14}
One of the Book Authors, Dr. Anthony Tibaingana.
One of the Book Authors, Dr. Anthony Tibaingana.

The book employed the following methodology:

  1. Teamwork and networking
  2. Primary and secondary data sources
  3. Literature Search
  4. Mixed Methods
  5. Descriptive and Inferential Approaches
  6. Quality Standardization and Flow (Abstract, KW, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, Conclusion & Recommendations)

According to Prof. Wesonga, the book’s unique attributes include:

  1. First ever in the history of Mak to demonstrate impeccable teamwork and network with 20 contributing authors
  2. Pioneering book in Mak history that focuses on leadership audit
  3. Proven data-driven scientific approach
  4. Baseline for various monographs, yet to come soon
  5. First book to be internationally demanded before its launch
Hon. Chris Baryomunsi (5th R) poses with officials and some of the authors at the Book Launch on 29th July 2022, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility Auditorium, Makerere University.
Hon. Chris Baryomunsi (5th R) poses with officials and some of the authors at the Book Launch on 29th July 2022, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility Auditorium, Makerere University.

THE AUTHORS

  1. Anthony Tibaingana
  2. Abraham Y. Owino
  3. Mwanga Yeko
  4. Fred Maniragaba
  5. Ronald Wesonga
  6. John Mushomi Atwebembeire
  7. Abel Nzabona
  8. John Paul Tugume
  9. Christian Kakuba
  10. Charles Lwanga
  11. Ishmael Kalule-Sabiti
  12. James Ntozi
  13. Edward Musoke
  14. Richard Tuyiragize
  15. Fabian Nabugoomu
  16. John Bosco Asiimwe
  17. Yeko Mwanga
  18. Paulino Ariho
  19. Fred Edward K. Bakkabulindi
  20. David Onen

EDITORS:

  1. Fredrick Ruguma Tumwine
  2. Fred E. K. Bakkabulindi
  3. James Ntozi

Continue Reading

Business & Management

Makerere signs MoU with ACCA: CoBAMS students to get exam exemption

Published

on

The Principal CoBAMS, Prof. Eria Hisali (C) and ACCA Uganda Country Manager, Ms. Charlotte Kukunda (L) exchange the signed agreement as the Dean School of Business, Prof. Godfrey Akileng (R) applauds on 18th July 2022, Makerere University.

Makerere University, yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), which is set to benefit students of Bachelor of Commerce – Accounting major.

According to the Country Manager of ACCA Uganda, Charlotte Kukunda, Makerere University students, starting with the next Academic year 2023 will be exempted from 8 examination papers out of the 13 papers one is supposed to take before being certified as a professional accountant.

This means that of Bachelor of Commerce – Accounting students will be sitting for only 5 out of 13 examinations to attain full ACCA qualifications.

The accreditation is for five years effective 2023 to 2027.

This comes with a reduction in the years a student is scheduled to spend studying ACCA as well as reducing the money one is supposed to spend on the eight courses.

Ms. Kukunda said that it takes one about two years to complete the ACCA course if one is to do all the 13 courses. However, with the exception of the 8 examinations, one can finish the course in one year.

The team from ACCA joins Management and staff of CoBAMS for a group photo.
The team from ACCA joins Management and staff of CoBAMS for a group photo.

During the signing ceremony, the Principal of the College of Business and Management Sciences, Prof. Eria Hisali, who represented the Vice Chancellor said the exemptions are a stamp of quality of the curriculum and education that the school of Business offers. He said the college was dedicated to conducting quality assurance for her courses, service delivery and research. “We want to get to the level where all our flagship programs are internationally accredited,” Prof. Hisali said.  

The Dean School of Business, Prof. Godfrey Akileng, said before the accredidation was done, ACCA conducted an audit of the curriculum and examinations of the Bachelor of Commerce – Accounting course.

“This decision means that ACCA highly regards the quality of the curriculum, training and examination of Bachelor of Commerce and that students of Bachelor of Commerce-Accounting option will attempt only 5 examination papers to attain a full ACCA qualification,” Prof. Akileng said.

 This is because, in some course units, what the students will have studied and accomplished within their three years of Bachelor’s training will be similar to some of the post-business school content they ordinarily should have encountered as part of their ACCA training.

View on CoBAMS

Continue Reading

Trending