In Summary

Hajji Noor Njuki, one of the building owners and also the publicity secretary of building owners association, said they were surprised to be given notices instructing them to pay the revised property rates yet they were not consulted by the municipal council authorities before coming up with the news rates

Masaka.

Property owners in Masaka Town are up in arms over the new property tax rates set by municipal council authorities.
The landlords, under their umbrella group Masaka Buildings Owners Association, raised their concerns over the new tax rates during a crisis meeting in Masaka Town on Monday.

Led by the association chairperson, Mr Edward Lutaya, the owners accuse Masaka Municipal authorities of overcharging them yet they earn little from the buildings.

Under the revised property rates, a building that has been paying Shs300,000 will be charged about Shs3m, a fee they say is too high.
“Our intention is not to refuse to pay taxes, but we need the municipal authorities to be considerate when setting these taxes, we pay a lot of taxes, and our stand is that the decision by municipal council to increase property tax by over 100 per cent given the current economic situation in the country was uncalled for,” Mr Lutaya said

Mr Samson Ssegawa, the association general secretary, said they have petitioned the town clerk to intervene and address their grievances.
He said they need the town clerk to meet all property owners and listen to their issues so that the new property rates are revised downwards.

“We have written to the town clerk to intervene and remove these ambiguous rates or else we shall be forced to close our buildings because we cannot pay such inflated taxes” he said.

Hajji Noor Njuki, one of the building owners and also the publicity secretary of building owners association, said they were surprised to be given notices instructing them to pay the revised property rates yet they were not consulted by the municipal council authorities before coming up with the news rates.

Masaka Municipality Assistant Town Clerk, Mr Edward Kiwanuka Gwavvu, said they arrived at the new rates after the government chief valuer made assessments of all buildings in town and submitted a report.
“But we asked them to come to the valuation court to raise their issues and those that came, their issues were heard and those that did not, are the ones who are complaining,” he added.

Masaka Municipality Mayor Godfrey Kayemba Afaayo, in support of the property owners, said the new tax rates are too high though he blamed them for failing to come to the valuation court to raise their complaints.

“I agree with the building owners that the rates are unfair, but we are considering giving them another chance to sit with them to see how best their concerns can be addressed, since they missed the first chance of raising their concerns before the valuation court,” he said

At least 40 property owners are registered in Masaka Town.