The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has backed move made by the Mayor of the Freetown Municipality, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr on Property Tax reform.
“We fully support this reform that appears to be in line with the best regional practice. While there is always room for improvement, we believe this reform could bring Freetown in line with other towns in the country and region in improving the property tax system,” IMF stated.
This came after the announcement of a new tax rate by the Freetown City Council (FCC) which, they (FCC) were asked to put on hold by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
The Ministry of Local Government maintained that based on concerns raised by residents of Freetown, they are asking the FCC to put on hold any plan to increase property tax rate until the difficult situation the people are going through during this pandemic is looked into.
That it is their position that an increase in property rate could in turn results to an increase in the prices of other commodity which would affect the living condition of the people.
IMF maintained that there is no strong reason to postpone the tax reform in the current COVID context adding that they fully support the implementation of the new tax system which will allow to increase property taxes on high-end property, while supporting the most vulnerable and those most affected by the crisis.
That postponing or suspending the already announced tax reform by the FCC could be counterproductive, eroding tax compliance as well as the overall trust in the new tax agenda.