Over New FCC Property Tax… SLPP Angry

By Ayodele Deen Cole

One of the spokespersons for the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) led government, Abu Bakarr Joe Sesay, has expressed anger over the increase in property tax announced by the administration of the Freetown City Council (FCC) that has been put on hold by the government.

The new tax sees an increase of 10 percent in the property rate for businesses and residential houses.

Abu Bakarr Sesay who heads the Strategic Communications Unit in the Ministry of Information and Communication said the timing of the introduction of the new tax is wrong; considering the national fight against COVID-19 and the background of the government lowering taxes to cushion the effect of the current economic burden imposed on the people. The new tax, he said, would hinder government’s progress in that direction.

He further disclosed that the reason why the Local Government Ministry intervened to put the increase on hold was because FCC did not discuss the subject with the Ministry and that by implication, introducing the new tax is not a decision FCC can arrive at alone.

Mr. Sesay maintained that the increase is inflationary; adding that it will result in rent increase and higher cost of goods and services as business and house owners would use it as their excuse.

However, the FCC Mayor, Her Worship Yvonne Aki Sawyerr maintains that the increase is to raise revenue to enable the Council perform its numerous responsibilities to its citizens well.

The Mayor revealed that for example the Council has not paid its workers for the past two months. The increase, she said, was not done irrationally but after a geo-mapping housing survey in the face of the Council not receiving timely subventions from the central government.

However, she promised to hold candid discussion with the government to address the issue.