Local Government Ministry to Undertake Nationwide Biometric Verification Of All Chiefdom Authorities

By Finda Judith Ngaujah:

Strategic Communications Unit,

Ministry of Information and Communications

The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Tamba Lamina, has informed the Press that his Ministry will soon embark on biometric verification of all chiefdom functionaries nationwide.

The verification, according to the Minister, was necessitated by the recent increment of remuneration of Council staff and other chiefdom functionaries by this government.

"The move seeks to clarify the exact number of chiefdom functionaries that will be catered for so that the right people will benefit," he explained.

Amb. Lamina disclosed that the

verification will be launched on the 10th of October 2020 in Kiodu city while registration will commence on the 14th of the same month in all district headquarters nationwide.

In a related development, the Local Government Minister said that they are setting up a technical team that will put together guidelines for property tax.

The technical team, he furthered, is now working on the draft guidelines for all Local Councils nationwide, adding that all Councils, Civil Society Organizations, Ministry of Finance represented by the Local Government Finance Department and the umbrella organization that represents Local Councils nationwide will be consulted in the process.

The Minister emphasized that all Chairpersons, Chiefdom Administrators and Mayors are required to join the technical team on Monday to validate the draft proposal which will then be taken to Cabinet.

It could be recalled that some months ago the Freetown City Council announced the introduction of a new property rate but its implementation was however put on hold by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance because, according to the Minister of Local Government, the Freetown City Council did not engage them to provide the necessary guidelines as required by law.

"Section 69 sub section 2 of the Local Government Act gives both ministries the mandate to provide guidelines for levied rates," he said.

The Minister stated that his ministry was contacted by members of the public raising concern over the lack of awareness and ownership of the rates particularly at a time when Covid-19 was at its peak in the country.

He noted that the action taken by the ministry was clearly based on the law and not Illmotivated, saying the Freetown City Council has since been complying with the decision that was made and asked that it continues to do so until the said guidelines are issued.