Public wants interest amnesty extended

WALVIS BAY

13 April 2018 | Local News

Otis Finck - The management committee (MC) of the Walvis Bay municipal council recommended that the local authority approves the extension of an amnesty interest period which lapsed, from 1 March to 30 April 2018.

There has apparently been an overwhelming request from the public (individuals and businesses) for the extension citing a number of personal reasons for the request. Such include that the amnesty period commenced on 1 December which has been at the beginning of the festive season and most did not either pay much attention to it even though it was marketed via various means.

The MC also suggested that council embark upon an aggressive marketing strategy via available means to create public awareness on this issue.

Council resolved in meeting on 30 November 2017 to approve an amnesty for the settlement of debts and writing off of accumulated interest from 1 December 2017 until 28 February 2018.

Under the amnesty all the interest of customer's accounts who settle their capital debt will be reversed or credited against such accounts.

A period of interest amnesty is announced from time to time in order to assist customers.

Mayor Immanuel Wilfred said the amnesty was a window of opportunity that customers could utilise to get interest written off when they settle the outstanding capital amount within a given period of time.

“Once a customer has settled the capital amount outstanding, all accumulated interest as at that same date will be credited against that customer's services accounts.”

According to the mayor customers often struggle to pay their municipal debts for various reasons.

“The unproductive debts accumulate huge amounts of interest and spiral out of control for many customers. Council's debt book is then also inflated with debts that have a very minimal chance of collection, and interest on outstanding amounts is one of the major contributing factors to this debt.”

Amnesties granted over previous years (2014 to 2016) have resulted in N$1 921 880, 81 of accumulated interest being written off, with N$8 511 036, 73 from capital accounts settled.

Besides the advertising cost to inform the public about the existence of amnesty interest and interest to be reversed, there has been no other additional cost to council pertaining to amnesty interest. Advertising costs for 2014 and 2015 were N$7 845 and N$18 062 respectively. The cost for 2016 is estimated at over N$20 000.

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