The Local Government (Amendment) Bill 2023 seeks to amend the Local Government Act 1972), to increase the retirement age of officers appointed to municipal councils from 55 years to 60 years.
It will also increase the retirement age of officers appointed to municipal councils aligns with the Government’s policy on retirement and the retirement age of civil servants.
Speaking on his motion, Attorney-General Siromi Turaga said the Bill seeks to amend the act to remove the requirement of calculating interest on overdue rates using the compound interest method – It also removes the interest rate as this would be prescribed by regulations, moving forward.
He said it is important that this motion moved forward, and the Bill is debated to synchronise the policy of Government in terms of the retirement age so that members or employees of the Local Government are not prejudiced by this law being delayed any further.
“The Bill is urgent for Government and must be considered without delay, as Cabinet endorsed the change in retirement age to officers and servants of Local Government in March and consultations of the same have been concluded.”
“There have been extensive consultations with the Ministry of Local Government and the Office of the Solicitor-General.”
Clause 1 of the Bill provides for the short title and commencement. If passed by Parliament, the amending the legislation will come into force on a date appointed by the Minister by notice in the Gazette.
Clause 2 of the Bill amends section 35 of the Act to increase the retirement age of officers appointed to Municipal Councils from 55 years to 60 years.
Clause 3 of the Bill deletes section 35 of the Act which is obsolete, given that the amendment in section 35 of the Act to the retirement age.
Clause 4 of the Bill clarifies the amendment made to section 35 of the Act and provides that the change in retirement age from 55 years to 60 years will not apply to those who have already turned 55 years old before the commencement of the amending legislation.
Clause 5 of the Bill amends section 78 of the Act to remove that interest rate of 11 per cent charged on overdue rates and provides that such rates of interest will be prescribed by regulations.
The amendment also removes the requirement for overdue rates to be calculated using the compound interest method.