Malawi: Default City Rates On the Raise

Lilongwe — Lilongwe City Council (LCC) has bemoaned continued tendency of not paying City rates by residents.

Director of Planning and Development (DPD), Hilary Kamela made the remarks Monday at Sunbird Lilongwe Hotel during Media briefing session on Land Governance Programme being implemented by LCC with financial assistance from Oxfam.

He admitted that residents are not aware on the importance of paying city rates as result of non-payment of City rates; the council was failing to provide essential services to the residents.

"Paying of City rates helps the Council to raise funds in order to deliver various services to the residents, we have challenges of garbage collection and fire fighting services due to lacking of financial support," Kamela pointed out.

The DPD noted that surprising the same City residents are able to pay for security and private garbage services on monthly basis without problems.

"If you can make a simple calculation on the monthly payments being made to such services, you will note that the amount being paid is more than the amounts paid to City rates annually. If you add the amounts paid to the two services, you will find out that payments of City rates are much cheaper but are able to do that willing fully," he explained.

Kamela said LCC staff need to be vigilant to reach out to the residents and make them understand the important remitting their City rates annually.

He said garbage collection and fire fighting has been a problem to the City due to low funding levels which has not made it possible for the council to fail to services its vehicles in order to carry out its services.

"As we are talking the Council is being owed K 9 billion in City rates and we need to develop a proper mechanism to ensure that the said amount is recovered for the effective delivery of services to the residents," the DPD added.

Kamela urged the Media to be proactive in sensitizing the City residents to remit their city rates for the delivery of better services to them.

He said the Media should help the Council in providing an sight on how it could improve the service delivery to the satisfaction of the residents.

Oxfam Governance Programme Manager, Mathias Kafunda observed that there is total chaos in the city and poor coordination among key development players due to poor land governance issues.

He said although the several stakeholders provide services in the City but most residents look at the City Council as the main sole providers in a number of services which are not being delivered to them.

"We are hoping that the development of the model urban planning guidelines will help the Council to improve in the delivery of their services to the residents," Kafunda noted.

He said the land governance programme aim at helping the City council to improve its management of land within the City, one of which is paying city rates.

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