Unpaid municipal council rates stand at $70m

June 19, 2024 3:06 pm

Aerial shot of Nausori town [File Photo]

Local Government Minister Maciu Nalumisa has today revealed that total rates owed to the 13 Municipal Councils, including current and arrears, accumulate to $79 million.

Nalumisa says the persistent challenge of poor rates collection demand attention.

He adds low rates collection directly impacts the councils ability to fund critical infrastructure projects and deliver essential services.

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Nalumisa urged the Council Chief Executives, to explore innovative and aggressive strategies to enhance rates collection.

He says councils must embrace technology, implement user-friendly payment plans, and launch public awareness campaigns to educate ratepayers on the critical importance of their contributions.

He stresses that if all fails, then the administrators need to invoke their legal powers under Part 11 of the Local Government Act.

The Minister highlights that his Ministry will closely oversee the work of the CEOs and Special Administrators.

He states that specific KPIs have been assigned, including improving the quality of annual financial statements, producing timely annual reports, and enhancing rates collection.

Nalumisa warns that the Ministry will not tolerate Councils that ignore the need to improve their financial situation and rate-collecting efforts.