By: Kebba AF Touray
The Chairperson of the Basse Area Council Foday Danjo, said the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted his council’s revenue generation negatively.
Chairperson Danjo disclosed this on Friday August 14th 2020, in an interview with this reporter on the operations of his Council.
According to Danjo, Lumos are their ‘‘main source of revenue’’ and that rates and taxes have not yet been paid by many people in the Region, because of Covid-19; that when tax collectors go for their collections, people lament that their first priority is to feed their families.
‘‘Such people will tell our collectors that they cannot afford to pay their taxes at the moment because of the restrictions imposed on their businesses due to the global pandemic, and that their priority is how to provide meals for their families,’’ Danjo said.
He said due to the impact of COVID-19 on revenue generation efforts of his Council, they are compelled to halt some of the borehole projects they have commenced within the Region.
This he said is because of the serious blow dealt to their daily revenue generation with the closure or restriction on the livelihoods of many taxpayers; that as such, Basse Area Council currently does not have sufficient funds to complete the projects.
Danjo asserted that despite the impact, his Council has managed to carry on with work, but that they have run out of the needed funds to continue operations and implement their ongoing projects.
On the Basse Market Fire Incident, Danjo said the inferno has led to a lot of loss in revenue for his Council.
‘‘The inferno has definitely affected us because the market is one of the biggest revenue sources for Council. The market is our primary source of revenue,’’ he said; that the fire disaster happened at a time when his Council undertook some important development projects for the Region.
‘‘Parliament approved D40 million in the just approved Supplementary Appropriation Bill, for the construction of the market. This is a good move and we welcomed the initiative. It will really help Council to boost its generation potentials once the construction is completed,’’ he said.
Danjo underscored that his Council has already tendered the contract of rebuilding the market and are currently waiting on GAMWORKS for the contractor to commence construction work.
‘‘If the construction is completed, we will invite interested people to apply for shops. This time, applicants will sign a contract with Council and they have to abide with the rules put in place for safety and security reasons,’’ he said; that as part of their contributions towards fighting against COVID-19, his Council has been involved in all activities such as sensitization, provision of hand washing buckets with hand sanitizers, facemasks and that they also gave foodstuff to some of the most vulnerable persons across the Region, since the pandemic.
‘‘Due to our limited financial status, we cannot deliver assistance to all of them and we decided to cut our quota according to our size,’’ he said.
He however said they would extend assistance to vulnerable communities once they have adequate funds; that this will ease the burden on the vulnerable from the difficult situation they are in, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chairman Danjo concludes: ‘‘What I would like to advise the people of URR is for them to protect themselves against the Covid-19 Pandemic and know that it is real and surging in the country. I urge all to stay home and put on their facemasks when going out, and adhere to Government’s regulations in the fight against this big enemy.’’