Cabinet has approved the Local Government amendment Bill 2023, which recommends key changes to the retirement age and interest rates under the Local Government Act 1972.
A statement released by Cabinet also highlighted a change in the proposed increase in the retirement age for officers and servants of municipal councils.
If the amendment passes, the age will be revised from 55 to 60 years, as highlighted in Section 35 of the Act.
Additionally, the Bill suggests a shift in the handling of overdue rates. Specifically, Section 78 of the Act is set to transition from compound interest to a simpler interest system.
The new amendment will reduce the interest on overdue rates from the current 11% to 5%, aligning it more closely with typical bank loan interest rates in Fiji.
These changes are primarily aimed at enhancing the efficiency of rate collection.
The intention is that with improved rate collection, Councils will boost their revenue and thereby reduce their current dependency on the National Budget for key expenditures.
The Bill will be discussed in the upcoming Parliament sitting.