FOR the next five years, residents and businesses indebted to Katima Mulilo City Council will pay through RedForce Debt Management CC starting today.
The council owes over N$148 million in arrears. City manager Raphael Liswaniso confirmed RedForce’s appointment on Wednesday, saying the council had resorted to the debt collector because its customers were not meeting their monthly payments.
He added that they had been patient for too long, as debts had been piling up since 2001.
“Our duty is to collect revenue from those who owe us. We tried to get them to pay their debts and we didn’t even charge them the 12% interest on arrears, but they failed. These unpaid debts affect our operating budget as we cannot implement development projects around the city,” he said.
According to Liswaniso, the residents owe the council N$103 million for services and N$45 million for land.
He added that out of the total arrears of N$148 million, businesses and government institutions account for about N$20 million.
“They must pay their debts now before they are drafted because RedForce will charge the interest rate. If they fail, there will be serious consequences such as repossessing property,” he stressed.
Liswaniso explained that Katima Mulilo is underdeveloped and the government has provided only about N$1.8 million for capital projects in the city this fiscal year. Therefore, the council must recover the money the residents owe to help start development projects.
If the council manages to recover what is owed to it, it can venture into ventures to increase its income, he added.
“The money owed to us won’t solve our current problems, but it can generate money to fund what we need to do,” he said.
Liswaniso said the council needed more than N$730 million to implement development projects in the city, including upgrading the city’s roads. For the sanitation system at Ngweze, New Look, Soweto and Boma sites, the council needs N$257 million, and for standard water infrastructure, it needs N$60 million.
“We are planning to upgrade the Lifasi road to a dual carriageway on both sides, but we only have N$3.9m which is not enough as we need N$11m for this project,” he said.