Al-Rawi: Local government corporations' readiness for reform being assessed

Local Government Minister Faris Al-Rawi - File photo by Angelo Marcelle
Local Government Minister Faris Al-Rawi - File photo by Angelo Marcelle

RURAL Development and Local Government Minister Faris Al-Rawi says local government corporations are being assessed by the ministry about their readiness for full implementation of the Miscellaneous Provisions (Local Government) Act 2022

Al-Rawi made this comment in response to a question from Independent Senator Dr Paul Richards in the Senate on April 16.

He said the full proclamation of the act "is expected to occur over the course of the next 12 months."

The act was assented to by the President on July 1, 2022 and published in the Gazette on the same day.

Al-Rawi said, "In this context, local government bodies are in fact being continuously assessed to determine their readiness for implementation of the new system."

He added, "All appropriate action is being taken to strengthen, reform and upgrade bodies to handle their new roles and responsibilities."

Al-Rawi said the act represents a comprehensive package of legislative amendments, thew .

While there are challenges, he continued, none of them are unexpected.

Al-Rawi said the plant, machinery and people associated with the local government reforms envisaged by the act have been mapped out.

"Those structures are being transferred from certain areas to other areas."

He reminded senators that Finance Minister Colm Imbert made a provision in the 2023/2024 budget for an allocation to come from the Consolidated Fund for property tax, pending the act's full proclamation that will see local government corporations collecting property tax on residential properties in their respective jurisdictions.

"So in a sense, the Government has already put money for property tax from the Consolidated Fund with the proclamation of the methodologies to collect property tax. Of course, those things will come in to supplement that position."

Richards observed that some local government corporations have been "notoriously derelict in providing audited financials and are now being afforded with the opportunity to collect funds (from property taxes) for the benefit of the burgesses."

He asked whether any strong financial oversight mechanisms have been implemented to ensure that money collected by local government corporations from property taxes are not misused.

Al-Rawi said, "As a matter of fact and law, the Finance Act of December 2023, put the collection of property tax in the hands of the Board of Inland Revenue (BIR) as and until the Minister of Finance, by order, passes that responsibility to local government."


"Al-Rawi: Local government corporations’ readiness for reform being assessed"

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