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Freetown mayor Aki-Sawyer apologises

30 June 2020 at 11:18 | 716 views

By Bampia James Bundu, Strategic Communications Unit, Ministry of Information and Communications

The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development has said at a press conference held in the conference room of the Ministry of Information and Communications that the Mayor of Freetown City Council (FCC), Yvonne Aki-Sawyer (photo), has apologised for failing to follow due process before astronomically increasing property tax in Freetown recently.

Mr Tamba Lamina emphatically stated that the Mayor failed to adhere to the procedures enshrined in the Local Government Act of 2004.

He explained that before such an increment is done the Mayor should first engage the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development which supervises Local Councils across the country, along with the Ministry of Finance.

Furthermore, he went on, staff of the Council must be deeply involved such that they own the process.

The Minister also underscored that the timing was totally wrong, coming at a time when Covid-19 is taking its toll on the populace.

According to Minister Lamina, the Local Government Act clearly stipulates that before such an increment is done the Ministry of Local Government in conjunction with the Ministry of Finance should be approached to come up with guidelines as to how such taxes can be levied.

He said the Mayor failed to follow the processes and essentially took upon herself to levy the new tax at a time when government is doing its utmost to cushion the effect of Corona on citizens.

"We are not against tax reforms as a government, all we are saying is that due process should be followed and it’s our responsibility as a ministry to ensure that processes and procedures in the Local Government Act are followed to the letter," the Minister noted, adding that his ministry has instructed the Mayor to put on hold implementation of the new property tax in Freetown until due process is strictly followed.

He allayed the fears of Sierra Leoneans that the issue has nothing to do with politics but rather everything to do with due process.

He called on all and sundry to desist from politicizing governance issues, especially those that hinge on the livelihood of citizens.

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