GCC ups collection of rates arrears

Clamping down: City fathers are eager to rein in on rates arrears
Clamping down: City fathers are eager to rein in on rates arrears

Gaborone City Council (GCC) councillors finally had something to cheer for in their perennial fight for revenues.

Mayor, Kagiso Thutlwe revealed that the collection of rates arrears was accelerating with P46.1 million recovered thus far in the financial year.

During their last full council meeting for the year yesterday, Thutlwe said between August 31 and November 3, 2015 the council was to move from P33.8 million recovered in the financial year to P46.1 million, an increase of 36 percent.

At present, the local authority is still owed P161.3 million in rates arrears.

“A total of P32.4 million was collected in-house while about P10 million and P3.7 million were collected through First National Bank and Barclays Bank respectively,” he said.

The council has rates arrears payment processes with the two banks.

The GCC has traditionally struggled to recover rates arrears, with residents unwilling to respond to letters of demand. In some localities, residents have questioned why they should pay rates when the local authority is failing to provide basic service delivery such as refuse collection.

The council has used debt collectors and house-to-house to recover rates arrears, which form a critical outstanding revenue item for the cash-strapped council.  In March, the local authority delivered 649 letters of demand for rates.

Meanwhile, Thutlwe said thus far, the local authority has spent 46 percent of its P321.1 million 2015-2016 budget.

“The real expenditure is on the higher side because the inventory system we are using reflects expenditure upon collection items,” Thutlwe said.

He said for the financial year to date, the GCC had raised P6.6 million in revenue from its own sources, excluding rates, against a target of P33.3 million.

A further P157.6 million had been sourced from government via the Revenue Support Grant, against a target of P210.6 million.

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