For the past years,the collection of revenue(property tax,local tax,evacuation fees etc) by local authorities on one hand and the Moyamba District Council on the other had been very difficult.This is the fact that the relationships between local authorities and Council have not been cordial.This could also be attributed to the unclear and undefined roles each party should play as stated in the Local Government Act.
According to Council,it has not been receiving revenue from chiefdoms for the past years.On the other hand local authorities have equally accused Council of not getting their own share of taxes collected in their various chiefdoms .
These allegations and counter allegations continue and affect development of communities.
Due to this ugly situation,the Moyamba Inclusive District Peace and Development Committee(IDPDC) has,at the end of a one day executive meeting resolved to organize a forum for community members,Paramount chiefs,Members of Parliament and Councilors.
The rationale behind the dialogue is to discuss pertinent issues especially those dealing with property and local taxes and the collection of revenue in all 14 chiefdoms in the Moyamba district.
In his statement at the meeting on September 5,2016 at the Council hall in Moyamba,Chairman,Moyamba District Council,Prof Herbert Bob Kandeh,who is also chair of the Moyamba IDPDC,said there are series of problems in own revenue collection by Council.He told his audience that initially when the Local Government Act came into existence,it worked very well in the first three years but problems started arising few years back due to the unclear roles and responsibiilties of both local authorities and Council.
He said there is every need for IDPDC to convene a dialogue forum to discuss issues surrounding revenue collection as it will be clearly explained who should do what
Prof. Kandeh said although Government plans to review the Act,stakeholders will also look at it and find ways how they could work together to raise revenue and how it would be shared among Council and communities.
Paramount Chief Foday Momoh Gulama of Kaiyamba chiefdom lamented over the manner of tax collection by Council.He said because communities are not benefiting from Council,most chiefdoms have stopped paying taxes few years back.He said traditional leaders should be involved in every aspect of development if Council wants to succeed.
Hon.James Alie appreciated the efforts of Fambul Tok and the committee. He called for possible ways to bring Councilors and community members together so that the issue of taxation should be properly explained.He said if this is not done,revenue generation and collection will continue to lag behind.
Executive Director,Fambul Tok,John Caulker disclosed the hosting of the inter-district conference in November.He said the idea is bring together community members from the three pilot districts of Moyamba,Kailahun and Koinadugu to share ideas and learn from each other.He emphasized that the conference will look at what worked and what did not work for the past year so that proper planning will be done to roll out the People’s Planning Process