Ohorongo owes Otavi millions in rates and taxes

20 Jun 2018 20:00pm
By Mulisa Simiyasa
OTAVI, 20 JUN (NAMPA) – Cement producer, Ohorongo reportedly owes the Otavi Town Council over N.dollars 4 million in unpaid rates and taxes.
Otavi Deputy Mayor, George Garab confirmed this to Nampa on Monday.
Ohorongo is situated about 25 kilometres north of Otavi.
Garab said the debt was largely incurred after the town of Otavi extended its boundaries in 2012.
He said the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development in 2012 approved a council proposal to extend the town boundaries by 30 kilometres in all directions.
“The proposal was approved by the ministry and we held information sharing sessions with owners of properties within our territories as new clients to explain to them our stand,” said Garab.
He said businesses within the newly proclaimed town boundaries were then issued monthly bills as rates and taxes.
Ohorongo is billed more than N.dollars 114 000 as a business operator monthly, Garab said, adding that the factory has so far failed to settle its bills since 2015.
Ohorongo Public Relations and Corporate Communications Manager, Esther Mbathera told Nampa her company is aware of the matter.
“We are aware of the matter at hand and we have been in consultation with the Otavi Town Council and the relevant stakeholders. Discussions are ongoing,” Mbathera said.
Chamber of Mines of Namibia Chief Executive Officer, Veston Malango explained to Nampa that mines should pay only for municipal services charged on office buildings situated on the land of such local authorities.
It further emerged that mines operating within other local authority jurisdictions in the Otjozondjupa Region, have also failed to pay for applicable rates and taxes.
A source at the Otjiwarongo Municipality, who spoke on condition of anonymity, on Wednesday said the two mines operating within that municipality’s jurisdiction do not pay rates and taxes.
Tsumeb’s Public Relations Officer, Stella Imalwa on Wednesday also said all three mines around Tsumeb do not pay a cent in rates and taxes to the municipality.
“This is because some are situated on private farmlands, and for some, it is the issue of the export processing zone licences issued to them and that license exempts these mines from paying for such services,” said Imalwa.