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20 February 2017

SADA debuts novelty property tax system in April

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Hajia Alima Mahama, Minister, Local Government and Rural Development, and Mr Charles Abugre (left), CEO, SADA, at the briefing on SADA’s Concept Plan for Tamale in Accra

The Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) will launch a novelty Property Tax Collection System in April, this year, that will be used by the Tamale, Buipe and Sangnerigu assemblies in the Northern Region to mobilise levies and other fees from landed property owners in the area.

Developed by the authority with support from other institutions, the property tax system is the outcome of a database collection process that began last year and resulted in the registration of all landed properties in the jurisdictions of the three assemblies.

Its successful implementation will make the system the first of its kind in the country and, therefore, a reference point for assemblies in mobilising revenue from property taxes.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SADA, Mr Charles Abugre, told the Daily Graphic in Accra that evidence showed that the system had the potential of doubling the revenue of the Tamale metropolis after a year of implementation.

“We estimate that even when you reduce property taxes, in a year, Tamale will double its revenue. In two years, Tamale will triple its revenue,” he told the Daily Graphic after briefing the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama, on SADA’s regional concept plan for the Northern Region.

Address transport challenges

The Tamale Concept Plan is a creation of the SADA Master Plan, a 25-year old development agenda that the authority is confident will serve as a blueprint in the transformation of the savanna zone from a place of challenges to a place of opportunities for investors and residents.

As part of the bigger picture, the Tamale Concept Plan aims at modernising the three assemblies in the inner part of the region to help ease the bottlenecks facing public transport system, water and sanitation.

It will also help optimise the value and ability of the assemblies to attract investments from the country and abroad to help spur growth of the entire Northern Savanna Ecological Zone (NSEZ).

After listening to presentations on the SADA Master Plan, Hajia Mahama said the project was in line with the government’s commitment to improving the lot of the people.

As a result, she said the ministry would support the authority to make it a reality.

She, however, stressed the need for SADA to ensure that the Tamale Plan helped to address the transport and sanitation challenges bedevilling the various assemblies.

Drone capture

Expatiating further on the property tax system, SADA’s CEO said the authority was confident that the tax system, to be administered by the various assemblies, would successfully mobilise the needed revenue from owners to help spur the development of their respective areas.

“The purpose is to enable the assemblies to raise property taxes easily, effectively and efficiently,” he said and noted that the authority realised from the onset that achieving such a goal would require a credible database of all properties in the assemblies.

As a result, Mr Abugre said it relied on street names, mappings and information of properties in the assemblies captured by a drone that was flown across the entire area.

Modes of payment

On how the property tax system will work, he said all properties in the three assemblies, including their locations and unique identification numbers, had been captured and fed into an online platform that would now be made available to the assemblies for tracking and reconciliation purposes.

He added that under the system, all properties in the three assemblies had been segmented into three tax bands to make room for the various property tax charges to apply.

After the project has been launched, Mr Abugre said “the assemblies will then pass the appropriate laws to determine the various rates.”

“Once the rates are determined, the database will be automated. The rates will be injected into the model and the system will be linked to the mobile telecommunication networks; meaning you can provide information to the property owners through the telecom companies,” he said.

Ultimately, Mr Abugre said the telecom companies could become a source of revenue collection point through mobile credit and mobile money.

“Secondly, we are in discussions with the Northern Electricity Department Company Limited (NEDCo) about the possibility of NEDCo also becoming a payment source.”

“This means that people can spread their property taxes into their electricity bills, which makes it easier to pay over time,” he said.

 

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