Minister for Local Government, Hon. Premila Kumar met with Suva City Council and Nasinu Town Council earlier this week. During her visits, Hon. Kumar met with the teams of Special Administrators at Nasinu and Suva to discuss their performance against the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) which were set upon their appointment last year.
While addressing the teams of Special Administrators, the Minister emphasised the critical importance of working together as a team in moving the organisations forward. “In order for you to overcome the current challenge of reforming Municipal Councils, you need to bring all your skills to the table and work together,” said Hon. Kumar.
The Minister acknowledged the work that had been achieved to date in particular, an increase in rate collection, significant work on rate profiling, and business processes in Suva.
However, despite the increase, only 38% of rate payers in Nasinu have paid their rates in full as at 31 May 2020. “Rate profiling has allowed Nasinu to add an additional 950 flats and thus raise additional garbage fees against these properties. Illegal developments are now also being identified and targeted as a result of better rate profiling.”
“Corporate entities who are not paying their rates are also being pursued and it is pleasing to see companies who understand their role as good corporate citizens are up to date with their payments,” said Hon. Kumar.
The Minister added that it was concerning that in Nasinu, 80% of the total amount of rates owed is by rate payers with debts to the Council of over $1000. Legal action and increased debt collection activities are being undertaken.
Rate payers can enter into monthly payment plans with their councils and need to be proactive in establishing this easy option. Rate payers need to understand their obligations to the Council just as much as the Council SAs, Management and staff deliver on their responsibilities to ratepayers.
Hon. Kumar emphasised that there was still a long way to go to improve waste services in Nasinu which is below standard and the Special Administrators are tasked with effecting immediate improvements including enforcement of Litter Laws and awareness program.
“I will be meeting different Municipal Councils once a month to ensure that the Councils are delivering quality services to the ratepayers and projects are completed on time,” the Minister stated. Hon. Kumar also reiterated the importance of maintaining a good relationship with rate payers, customers and stakeholders.