The Institutional Reform and Capacity Building Project (IRCBP) have given support to the Freetown City Council (FCC) to develop a Property cadastre and Business License Register for the whole of Freetown.
The objective of the support is to assist the FCC develop a strategy to mobilize locally generated revenues, with specific reference to the administration of property rates and business licenses.
Addressing a press conference on Tuesday at the FCC Conference hall, IRCBP Director, Emmanuel Gaima said that, objectives of the support includes: to capture the information required for constructing the primary business and property registers within Freetown ;to capture the information required for proposing a simple assessment methodology for business licenses fees and the rating for properties that could eventually be managed by the FCC and to evaluate and refine the operational methodology for data collection and registration with aim of replicating the exercise in other local councils.
Gaima stated that , international bidding process was carried out using the World Bank procurement procedures, adding that the contract was won by two reputable local firms: Organization for Environmental Development (OFED) and Next Generation as consultants for the supports.
The Director reiterated that, these consultants shall conduct a field data collection exercise in the demarcated area of Freetown, street by street and locate all forms of businesses by category; visit every house, street by street and gather information on the housing facilities in the city; obtained updated satellite images of the zones covered, which will eventually be linked to Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates to be collected.
Also he stated that the consultants will obtain GPS coordinates information on each house; identify and code all unnamed streets in their operational area and develop a data base software that will hold the information on properties and businesses, and generate user friendly reports to by client.
In response, Mayor Herbert George Williams said that, one of the sources of the council is the property rates. He added that over the years they were finding it difficult to collects these rates, but with the supports it will enhance their revenue drive.