Cash strapped Lilongwe City Council says it has hired a professional debt collecting firm in a bid to recover K86 billion from elusive rate payers as the council is struggling to provide basic services to residents.
Lilongwe City Council spokesperson Tamara Chafunya confirmed the council has hired the debt collecting law firm and was hopeful all the money would be collected this time around.
"Our own debt collectors have failed to collect the money so we had no option but engage the debt collecting firm which is also a law firm," said Chafunya.
A few months ago, minister of Local Government Kondwani Nankhumwa expressed concern that the council was not delivering according to the expectations of residents after he saw poor sanitation at Lilongwe Bus Depot and broken sewerage pipes which spilled off human faeces.
Council officials blamed this on financial constraints but the minister told them to rise up and have novel ideas on income generating activities.
Chafunya said some of the money to be collected dates back as far as five years ago and was upbeat all the rate arrears would now be collected to meet the needs of the Capital City residents who include President Peter Mutharika, cabinet ministers, leader of opposition in parliament Lazarus Chakwera, Speaker of national assembly Richard Msowoya and diplomats among high ranking officials who reside in Lilongwe.