$79 million in rate arrears owed to Municipal Councils

$79 million in rate arrears owed to Municipal Councils

By Alipate Narawa
Thursday 20/06/2024
Minister for Local Government, Maciu Nalumisa

The Office of the Prime Minister, Ministry of Finance, and Parliament have been consistently questioning the unacceptable bulging rate arrears of $79 million owed to Municipal Councils.

Minister for Local Government, Maciu Nalumisa highlighted this at the Municipal Councils – Chief Executive Officers Forum at the Suva Civic Centre Lower Auditorium today.

Nalumisa says for a long time, the Councils have remained complacent in rectifying the audit issues identified by the Office of the Auditor-General and the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.

He says these issues can undermine public trust and hinder effective governance and to rectify this would involve implementing robust internal controls, regular audits and transparent reporting mechanisms.

The Minister says addressing these audit issues will not only strengthen the financial health of Councils but also promotes greater public confidence in local government operations, paving the way for more effective and sustainable community development.

He says as this financial year comes to an end, the plans for internal audits are being developed and his Compliance and Audit team together with the auditors from the Ministry of Finance will work according to an audit plan and will undertake the audit of all the Councils.

Nalumisa says they will thoroughly scrutinize the accounts and processes of each Council also assessing the implementation of the audit issues and recommendations.

He they must continue to strengthen mechanisms for transparency and accountability, ensuring that decision-making processes are open and inclusive, and that public resources are managed responsibly.

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