OMUTHIYA - The Otavi Town Council has announced plans to write-off millions of dollars in municipal debts owed to it by elderly residents.
Mayor George Garab said the gesture was a token of appreciation to pensioners who are regarded as sincere citizens who pay rates and taxes. Garab could however not specify the exact amount owed by pensioners.
Instead, he said, the sum will be determined at the end of the verification process to be conducted by the council. According to the mayor, residents currently owe council a combined total of N$42.32 million in rates and taxes, while the town owes NamWater N$23 million.
“This is a total debt by the consumers, so from this amount after our evaluation and verification, we will determine how much the elders owe.
We will then write a letter informing the line ministry of our plan, which is part of a resolution passed by council,” he added.
Furthermore, Garab said the issue of writing off debt is long overdue as it has been on council agenda for the past three years.
“We need to take care of the elders, we want to relieve the burden on their shoulders so that they can start afresh as we know they will be able to honour their payment obligation,” he reiterated.
Pensioners are therefore advised to visit the council to verify ownership of their properties in order to qualify. Garab also added the NamWater debt has been soaring for the past 10 years.
“We are also busy negotiating with NamWater on how they can reduce the tariff to a reasonable amount so that we can also afford paying off the debt.
There is a fountain that pumps water to town which is supposed to be free but NamWater put a metre to it, so we are trying to negotiate if such a rate can be reduced so that it can be beneficial to both parties,” stated Garab.