Property Tax Rate Brouhaha SLPP Plays ‘Dirty’ Politics With FCC
Putting on hold the proposed property rate of the Freetown City Council (FCC) by the Minister of Local Government, Tamba Lamina, which is designed to give the impression that the said ministry had no knowledge and was not informed about the plan, has been dismissed, as minutes of the meeting between the Mayor, Yvonne Aki Sawyer (in photo), and the Minister on the planned increase indicates otherwise.
According to the minutes, several issues were raised and adjustments made to the satisfaction of the minister. During the said meeting it was indicated that the FCC is yet to pay some 566 workers and the subvention of the government is yet to be disbursed to them. It was also disclosed that the said new rate is to take effect on 31st December 2020, a far cry from insinuations that the increase is going to be implemented with immediate effect during this period of COVID-19. It should be noted that during COVID-19, the government has not provided tax holidays for citizens, unlike other countries where the governments had given tax breaks to its citizens.
It was further disclosed that during the process of collecting data in respect of the Property Tax, the National Revenue made its own contribution in the questionnaire sent to them by council. Are we to believe that the FCC will send questionnaire to the NRA and disregard any engagement with its supervisory Ministry? Many citizens spoken to say that the whole scenario created by the LGRD ministry is a shield for the failure of the government to give the Mayor the support she deserves to provide the services Freetonians are yearning for.
Others see the action to put a hold on the new rate is geared towards frustrating the efforts of the Mayor to raise revenue to implement all her plans in transforming Freetown.
According to concerned Freetonians, the development of the city is being tagged to political affiliation and they are not pleased with that. Many are of the view that since the initiative of ‘Transform Freetown’ had come from the Mayor, who is in the main opposition party, efforts are being embraced to discourage her or otherwise delay their implementation. In their view, the action of the Minister of Lands in the demolition of a structure that is sponsored by the EU on the request of the FCC, without consultation, speaks volumes of the desire of some members of the government to frustrate the Mayor’s development drive. It was revealed that after waiting for quite a long time for the support of the government, through its budgetary allocation to the FCC, the Mayor decided to review the property rate to enable her carry out other development plans. It is believed that as time is fast running for the municipal election to come, the Mayor is determined to carry out her dream for a better Freetown, with or without the help of the central government. This determination is being seen by loyalists of the Bio government as one that will result in accolades for the workaholic Mayor, whose commitment to transform Freetown (her baby project), remains undaunted. It is believed that as the poor record of performance of the government is being daily under the citizen’s microscope, the Mayor’s ‘Transform Freetown’ plan will further earn her more respect and love from the people.
However many political analysts were not surprised at the unfolding situation, as it is very unlikely that a ruling government will allow an opposition party Mayor to make waves in the country than the government, especially in the Sierra Leonean setting. She is therefore being urged to press on with her plans to change the narrative about Freetown.
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