The Minister for Local Government, Housing and Community Development, Hon. Premila Kumar reminds ratepayers that because of the change in financial year of the Municipal Councils, ratepayers will only be invoiced for seven months from 1 January 2021 to 31 July 2021in their next rates notice.
The latest reform in the Local Government Act 1972 reflects the change in the financial year for all Municipal Councils from 1 August to 31 July.
By virtue of the alteration to the legislation, the Municipal Councils will be issuing rates notices for a period of only 7 months from 1 January to 31 July 2021. This reflects the necessary seven month transition period.
A new rates notice will then be sent for the twelve month period of 1 August 2021 to 31 July 2022 as per the new financial year of the Councils.
“The Ministry considered it beneficial to align the fiscal year of Municipal Councils to that of the National Government’s financial year.
The change allows for easier acquittal processes for projects and grants funded by the state. It also ensures consistency and uniformity with national fiscal policies which will allow better monitoring of projects from planning to completion in line with the Fijian Government’s budget announcements,” Hon. Kumar stated.
The Minister added that the reform will mean a change to the issuing of end of year rate notices to the ratepayers. January 2021 will be the last time rates notices are sent at the beginning of the calendar year.
“Mid-year rates notices will better match the ability of ratepayers (commercial and residential) to pay their rates. Families will be more able to budget if rates are not at the beginning of a calendar year which competes with other needs. Most families also have loans and debts to pay off at the beginning of the year.”
“The struggle to pay for all the dues at the start of the year becomes a challenge for ordinary households.
Therefore, the payment of rates in the middle of the year, starting from August 2021 will bring in much needed relief to families and ratepayers.” Said Hon. Kumar.