CATHERINE MUMBA, Lusaka
THE Parliamentary Committee on Local Government, Housing and Chiefs Affairs yesterday heard that Lusaka City Council (LCC) has recovered more than K500,000 out of the K1.3 million it is owed in property rates for the period 2013 to 2015.
The committee implored LCC to up its game in collecting the debt.
The Auditor General’s report revealed that during the period under review, the council issued out property rate bills of K1, 318,182 to various property owners within the district.
But the committee wondered why as of December 2016, only amounts totalling K490,156 had been collected, leaving a balance of K828,026.
This was when Lusaka Town Clerk Alex Mwansa appeared before it to respond to queries raised in the Auditor General’s report.
“You need these property rates to sustain your operations. So you need to up your game and ensure all the monies are collected soon,” committee chairperson, who is also Serenje member of Parliament Maxwell Kabanda said.
Mr Mwansa said the council did not collect property rates because it had not distributed demand notices.
“We also restrained ourselves because we had elections last year, so the social economic situation could not allow us to press our customers,” he said.
He said LCC has also issued and distributed demand notices to all the debtors and is currently executing warrants of distress to all defaulters.
Mr Mwansa said the council has put up a debt recovery plan which is working effectively by ensuring all demand notices are issued and warrants are executed.
He said LCC has signed a memorandum of understanding with banks for enhancement of revenue collection through customer direct deposits and the introduction of point of sale machines at most of the revenue collection centres.