The opposition APC Mayor’s proposed increase in property rates in Freetown has boomeranged, since the government through the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has in an official document halted the proposed increase.
Government’s swift intervention to what many SLPP aggrieved supporters deem as sabotage of their government in the city, especially at a time, when Covid-19 pandemic is wrecking the country’s economy was due to massive public outcry from property owners.
Considering the economic effect of the virus on the livelihoods of the citizenry, the Ministry in its press release deems it necessary to halt the Mayor’s ill-advised decision since it will inevitably result in all round increase in prizes, which will consequently impact negatively on the masses.
The Minister said, government is making tremendous effort to reduce the economic impact on the citizenry by implementing several policies to reduce the burden on livelihoods, hence, any proposed upsurge at the moment will certainly have additional consequence on the masses.
However, both parties are expected to meet to further discuss the issue.
Meanwhile, property owners who spoke with The Satellite blasted the APC Mayor for coming up with such a proposal at a time like this, when she knows that these are not normal times, giving that, the pandemic has led to many jobs lost, to the extent that many people cannot afford to pay their usual rents.
Whatever the increase on property rates, they said, the tenants will definitely bear the brunt as they would not scruple to similarly increase their rents regardless of the pandemic, which they said, will also see many evicted for lack of payment.
Correspondingly, SLPP supporters have branded the APC Mayor as saboteur accusing her of wanting to use the proposed increased property rates amid Covid-19 to paint a grim picture about their party in the city all in the name of protecting her party support.
They however lauded the swift intervention of government because according to them, the Mayor, Yvonne Akie Sawyerr, would have succeeded in diminishing the party’s support in the city, more so, when the party is striving very hard to retake the once SLPP strongholds during the late President Kabbah SLPP regime.
Meanwhile, in reaction to the public furore, Mayor Aki Sawyer by way of concession has announced a reduction of property tax from 15% to 5% until September end, whilst reporting that people are paying their property taxes.