Mayor of Gaborone, Kagiso Thutlwe says Gaborone City Council (GCC) is still struggling to recover over a P100 million in rate arrears.
Addressing the full council on Monday, the Mayor said this failure was an indication that they will once again start this financial year on a worrisome momentum when it comes to rates collection, “Rates arrears stand at a lofty P126 343 068 after having collected only P10 059 035 since the beginning of the financial year,” he said.
The Mayor pleaded with businesses that are failing to pay rates, and levies to take responsibility and pay their debts that are hindering developments in the city. “May I once again plead with all property owners to come forth and pay rates and all other levies to enable council to continue providing services to Batswana. It is the right thing to do and it is what responsible citizens do,” he said.
He however said there is hope as their Credit Control Unit is now taking shape, “…the Credit Control Unit that I reported about in the previous sitting is however taking shape and we are in the process of formulating a policy that will guide the operations of the office.” He said the office has since made headway in identifying some bottlenecks that impede collection and thus will come up with formidable strategies to strengthen collection.
“We are working on a budget of P321 106 430 which though represents a slight increase of 8.3% is still somewhat stringent. We have to date received funds amounting to P64 376 951.38 which includes 53 736 563 having been received from Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development as Revenue support grant while the P10 640 388.38 was collected from our own sources of revenue,” he said.
He further stated that Council expenditure to date stands at a total of P41 573 018. 51 which translates into 12% of the annual budget. He however said their expenditure should have been close to 25% of the annual budget but the rate of expenditure is seemingly sluggish due to the fact that they are at the beginning of financial year and the procurement process has just commenced. “We will witness exponential growth in expenditure as soon as tenders are awarded and goods and services start to be delivered,” he said.