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F/town City Council owed over P100m in rates arrears

F/town City Council owed over P100m in rates arrears
March 13
08:35 2018


Cash strapped Francistown City Council is owed just over P100 million in rates arrears. When addressing a full council meeting last week, Mayor Sylvia Muzila indicated that for this financial year, the council managed to collect only P14 million.

“This shows that we need to encourage our people to use the channels that are in place to pay for rates. As for Service Levy, we are owed P10, 749,206.82 and the collection for this financial year amounts to P795, 980.50,” said the seemingly concerned Muzila who recently survived a coup attempt.

She noted that the Building Materials Levy arrears stand at P8, 939,470.92 while the collected amount is P460, 584.05 during the year. The city council has signed a memorandum of understanding with Standard Chartered Bank so that residents could pay their rates and service levy through the commercial bank but it seems like the initiative is not bearing fruits as residents are still dragging their feet to settle their debts.

Muzila reiterated that they had to reduce their initial budget proposal of the Recurrent Budget by P4, 487,200.00, that is from P227, 899,950.00 to 223,412,750.00. “As such honourable councillors, I wish to highlight that we are aware that even our initial proposal was not going to be enough to address most of the challenges that we face as Francistown City Council. Now the reduction of about P4.5 million means that we need to put our heads together to strategize on ways that could assist in delivering services without necessarily having to rely on government support,” Muzila revealed.

She lamented that it is crucial for the councillors to find innovative ways of addressing development needs within the limited expected revenues. According to Muzila, the council will also have to exercise prudent financial management and adopt a number of belt-tightening measures.

Meanwhile, on a positive note, the city council has been given P40 million from Fuel Levy Funds for maintenance of roads. For a very long time, motorists in the city have been bitterly complaining about the poor state of internal roads. The recent heavy down pours has also exacerbated the problem.

Muzila highlighted that the funds will be used mainly for maintenance of roads using asphalt overlay, resealing and reconstruction of some sections the roads, pothole patching and construction of storm water drainages. She added; “Although this may seem to be a significant amount it is not enough to cover all our maintenance needs hence prioritization of our maintenance.”

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