Karonga District Council (KDC) has expressed concern over the continued tendency of not paying ground rates by residents, saying the council is owed K200 million in unpaid rates.
Chairperson for the financial committee at the council Councilor Belliam Msukwa made the remarks following an interface meeting with the residents over unpaid ground rates.
Speaking in an interview, Msukwa admitted that residents were not aware of the importance of paying such rates saying as a result of non-payment of the ground rates the council was failing to provide essential services to the people of the district.
“Paying of ground rates helps the council raise funds in order to deliver various services and development for its residents but we have challenges like our drainage system around our town and a lack of street lights due to lacking financial support,” he articulated.
The financial committee chair has therefore expressed optimism that issues of defaulting on ground rates by its residents will be a thing of the past following positive feedback from the citizenry.
However, speaking in a separate interview following the meeting, one of the residents Biatrice Mweba hit out at the council for failing to deliver services to its residents despite most residents paying the ground rates.
“Why should we continue paying rates to the council when there is no sign of development on the ground from the council so where do these moneys go,” she questioned.
Concurring with Mweba another resident Freeman Kaponda, said lack of transparency and accountability from the KDC on how the resources are spent is a major contributing factor on why residents are defaulting on paying ground rates.
He observed that if the council is to realise its objectives of delivering services for its residents there is need for transparency from them hence the engagement meeting with residents is a step in a right direction.