The industrious are penalised for their efforts
Stabroek News
March 1, 2002

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Dear Editor,

In the ongoing debate for local government reform I would like to say something with respect to payment of rates and taxes.

The Neighbourhood Democratic Councils have been appraising household properties and have been levying taxes based upon the appraised value of the properties. The more a person spends to make his home and surroundings comfortable the more he is taxed; while the person who wastes his money is taxed less so is given more to waste.

Let's take a hypothetical case of two persons working with the same company having the same opportunities to earn. One saves and builds his family a decent house, keeps his yard, drain and surroundings clean while the other drinks and gambles and lives in a shack with his yard, drain and surroundings in a filthy state, even his pit latrine overflows.

According to the law the former one is penalised by high rates and taxes for being clean and wanting to bring up his family in a decent way and being less of a burden on the Neighbourhood Democratic Council while the other is encouraged by little or no rates and taxes to continue to waste his wages on liquor etc. and be dependent on the NDC to maintain his drains etc. How ridiculous!

There are lots unoccupied for years. The owners just leave them there in jungle and swamp creating dumps and breeding mosquitoes and pay little or no rates.

The rules should be changed so that taxes are levied uniformly by areas and not on individual properties. An entire housing scheme should be assessed taking its level of development into consideration. Having arrived at an appraised value, the scheme could further be sub divided by adding some extra percentage on a reduced basis starting from the public road inwards. In other words, persons living by the road will pay more than the person living at the back since his property will have a higher commercial value.

The above may not be practicable for the city and towns and may need to be looked at differently.

It will also save time and money that would be needed to pay for individual appraisals.

Yours faithfully,

Mohamed Akeel