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Kitgum Municipality Proposes Revaluation Of Property Rates

Patrick Ocan Ocitti, the Kitgum Municipal Deputy Town Clerk said in an interview on Friday that they are fetching low revenue from taxing properties because of the low percentage charged.
Some of the commercial buildings in Kitgum Municipality. Municipal officials have proposed to revalue property taxes to widen its local revenue earning. Photo By Julius Ocungi

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Kitgum Municipal Authorities have proposed to re-evaluate rates of properties in the Municipality.

Currently, Kitgum Municipal council charges only five percent property tax levy on property owners.

The rates vary and depend on the assessments of the municipal valuer. For example George Ocan, a property owner says that he pays 160,000 to 200000 shillings for each of his commercial buildings.   Patrick Ocan Ocitti, the Kitgum Municipal Deputy Town Clerk said in an interview on Friday that they are fetching low revenue from taxing properties because of the low percentage charged.

He says the revenue collected from taxing such properties is no longer sufficient to sustain the smooth running of their budget and offer quality services.

According to Ocitti, the current rates were determined in 2004 when the area was still experiencing insecurity.

Ocitti says with the current peace, properties especially commercial buildings and lands have greatly appreciated. 

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He says new rates will be determined after the valuation exercise conducted by a hired private valuer to help the Municipality broaden its locally raised revenue and reduce its reliance on central government’s fund.

The exercise will be undertaken using parts of funds allocated to the Municipal council for Institutional strengthening under the Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development [USMID] Programme.

Some of the property owners have welcomed the proposals with open arm. 

George Ocan says the proposal is not bad since the Municipal council also depends on tax payers’ money to delivery services. 

He however says the exercise should be transparent with the expertise of an independent property valuer. 

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The 2005 Local Government Act Mandates Urban councils to set property rates not exceeding 12% of the rateable value.

In the Financial year 2018/2019, Kitgum Municipal Council only managed to raise 189 million Shillings in local revenue out of the approved 740 million Shillings.

Municipal officials attributed the drastic drop on the relocation process of market vendors to a new site which created gaps in the collection from pronounced sources.