Mzuzu City Council (MCC) has expressed dissatisfaction with the low number of residents paying their city rates, saying the council has only generated 51 percent of the revenue projected for the 2015/16 fiscal year.
MCC projected to raise K900 million (about $1.3million) in the financial year, but it has managed to generate K461 million (about $ 675 000), representing 51 percent, roughly three months before the end of the financial year on June 30.
This was disclosed in Mzuzu on Thursday during MCC’s budget conference in preparation for the 2016/17 financial year that starts on July 1.
MCC chief executive officer (CEO) Macloud Kadam’manja said although the amount generated reflects an increase from the 2014/15 financial year’s K343 million (about $502 000), it is not enough considering the numerous services the city needs to undertake.
“Generally, as a council, we have been supported by different stakeholders, that is donors and government, in running different projects in the city. But 80 per cent of the funds which the council depends on to finance its projects emanate from the property rates. However, most residents continue not to honour city rates arrears.
“We struggle a lot in getting funds from property rates. As I speak, there are residents just too numerous to count that are yet to settle their city rates arrears and they owe us over K300 million,” he said.
Kadam’manja termed the tendency as a defect with a direct impact on service delivery.
In 2014, former MCC CEO Thomas Chirwa told the media that the council has paid about K900 million in litigation after decisions the council made were challenged because they were made when there were no councillors.
The council also took to court some of those defaulting on paying the city rates. n