Municipal councils to work on income-generating projects

Minister for Local Government Premila Kumar during her visit at Namaka market in Nadi. Picture: BALJEET SINGH/FT FILE

MUNICIPAL councils will soon work on income-generating projects with private investors to cover insufficient rates paid by Fijian ratepayers.

Minister for Local Government Premila Kumar revealed this in her recent tour of the municipal markets in the Western Division.

“We are not here only to see the Namaka Market, but to see other potential projects which the council can do on its own or they can go into joint venture with private investors locally or overseas,” she said.

“So the intention is to put out an expression of interest on potential projects so that we can give an opportunity to local investors first to express their interest and if they get selected, then the town councils can work with private sectors to develop an area.

“The reality is that municipal councils are surviving on rates and rates are often not sufficient.”

Mrs Kumar said such a venture would create a win-win situation for both the council and the investor.

“I personally feel that we should not be only looking at rates.

“So if municipal councils go into joint venture with private sector, this will be a win-win situation for both the council and the private sector which we can then use to reduce rates that we are charging to ratepayers.

“It’s all about planning … I am not saying we are reducing the rates now.

“We need to think carefully so we can generate more revenue.”

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