By Dennis Ayemba
How Crestanks is banking on Innovative Solutions for its Water and Sanitation services
The crucial role of water in accomplishing Africa’s development goals is widely recognized. The continent faces pervasive underdevelopment, food insecurity and endemic poverty; with almost all countries lacking the economic, human, and institutional capacities to effectively and efficiently develop and manage their water resources in a sustainable manner. Thus, a large number of countries on the continent still face huge challenges in achieving the United Nations water-related Millennium Development Goal.
According to General Manager of Crestanks, access to clean water is one of the key objectives of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals; moreover, there is an adage that goes, ‘water is life’ and this has no border.
Crestanks is a member of the AquaSanTec group that operates in 7 East African countries, which was incorporated in 1991 and started operations in 1994. It is the market leader in water and sanitation solutions in East Africa and beyond; driven by its desire to improve life for low- and middle-income communities in East Africa by providing practical solutions to their water, sanitation, energy and food security needs.
Crestanks offers a variety of products to their wide range of clients. These products include: Crestanks water tanks which are Uganda’s number one water tanks. These come in various sizes from 50 litres to 24,000 litres for both on ground and tower installations. This is the flagship product. Loft tanks that are designed for installation in Ceilings. Septanks which are Septic tanks of South African design both in Vertical and horizontal designs. These range in size from 2 to 4.3 Cubic metres. Permawell which is an LLDPE well liner in place of concrete culverts. Plastic road barriers which are very convenient for road construction companies as they don’t require crane for deployment and removal or relocation.
“Our products are internationally recognized; most of them are made through Roto-molding process, which is a slow but very versatile process that assures quality. Apart from using virgin food grade material; we also integrate 2.3% carbon black through a melt compounding process, which protects our products from degradation by sun rays and gives them an expected life span of 30 years,” said the General Manager.
“Many people consider price as the major purchasing determinant and more often will go for the cheapest. We at Crestanks believe that cheap is not always the best. Due to the change in plastic manufacturing technology, it is possible to have very cheap products with reduced expected lifespan. So people should choose quality and not price. We appreciate that prices of our products are comparatively high, but with regard to durability and minimal maintenance, they are incomparable.
According to the General Manager, just like any other industry; they also have their fair share of challenges. These challenges range from high production costs to market competition with cheap substandard products. “The power and gas tariffs are very high. Our manufacturing establishments use a lot of power and gas which weighs heavily on the production costs. Also, the raw material we use is a petro-chemical by product whose price keeps on fluctuating on the market and is furthermore subjected to exchange rate fluctuations,” he added that we import all our raw material on US Dollars and sell in Shillings.
“The government needs to adjust power tariffs to favour local industrialists and promote Buy Uganda by limiting imports of products that can be manufactured locally. This would be a step in the right direction with regards to improving the business environment for local manufacturers,” he asserted. “For example some schools are importing Plastic school furniture yet Crestanks can make it locally”. He added.
“We have designed special tanks in the 3000, 6000 and 10,000 capacities. These are wide and short for installation on houses with shorter roofs. One can also have it installed on raised platform and harvest water from the roof and have it flow into the house. Our gutters are so far the best one can find on the Ugandan market. Additionally, we are already representing LIXIL of USA to provide Satos and Qdesk Products; Plc also of USA, in the provision of environment friendly furniture,” he concluded.