Fort Portal civic engagement highlights property owners' rights and fair taxation

RippleNami Uganda successfully conducted a civic engagement event at Nyaika Hotel in Fort Portal recently, continuing its "Services and Fair Tax for Property Owners" campaign. This insightful gathering delved into the rights of property owners concerning service delivery and equitable taxation in the realm of property rates collection and administration.

The campaign, organized by RippleNami Uganda in support of USAID under the Domestic Revenue Mobilisation for Development (DRM4D) initiative, aims to advocate for property taxpayers' rights to access quality public services while emphasizing fairness, equity, reciprocity, and accountability in how local governments manage property rates. This crucial conversation is pivotal in fostering a harmonious relationship between property owners and local government authorities.

Fort Portal City Authority initiated the comprehensive property valuation exercise in 2022, targeting properties to be taxed over the next five years, starting from the upcoming financial year. This significant undertaking reached its conclusion in September 2022, setting the stage for the subsequent phases of property tax administration.

According to Mr. Asaba Rugumayo, the City Mayor, the next step involves the engagement of a private contractor, entrusted with the responsibility of sensitizing property owners about the forthcoming tax regulations and collections. Mr. Rugumayo highlighted the progress made, stating, "Valuations have been completed, and the magistrates' court has been made available for those wishing to appeal their property tax assessments. The tax rates have also been displayed for property owners to review."

The property tax revenue plays a pivotal role in financing essential infrastructure development such as roads, and the provision of crucial services like sanitation, garbage collection, antimalarial drugs, clean water, and security, among other vital services administered by the City Council. Property owners understand the importance of these revenues in enhancing the quality of life within the city.

One anonymous property owner emphasized the significance of property rates as a vital revenue source for the city while acknowledging the existing gaps in service delivery. The expectation is that, following the recent property valuation exercise, tax revenues will experience a surge due to the notable increase in new property developments since Fort Portal attained city status. With the commitment of both local government authorities and property owners, Fort Portal is poised for sustainable growth and development in the coming years.

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