GCC owed half-a-billion in rates

Baitshepi Sekgweng
SEALED WITH A SHAKE: Access bank MD Aisam and GCC Town Clerk, Pule

Council partners with Access Bank to digitize ‘PayRates

Residents in the capital owe Gaborone City Council more than a half-a-billion Pula in outstanding rates and levies.

This jaw-dropping figure was revealed by GCC Town Clerk, Lopang Pule during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Access Bank Botswana on Wednesday.

Aptly dubbed ‘PayRates’, the landmark three-way partnership between GCC, Access and GoSmartValue seeks to facilitate easy rates and levy collection, as council attempts to recover some of the millions it’s owed.

“The PayRates initiative is a game-charger for our city. It not only simplifies the payment process for our residents but also strengthens our financial management capabilities. This collaboration with Access Bank Botswana underscores our commitment to modernising our city services and improving the quality of life for our citizens,” declared Pule, who is confident the Pula will start pouring in.

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Developed by real estate experts, GoSmartValue, the digital scheme is designed to streamline the payment of property rates by offering a user-friendly platform that simplifies the process for all stakeholders.

According to Access Bank, Managing Director (MD), Sheperd Aisam, the bank will assist GC residents to seamlessly pay for their rates, which in turn will ensure council has enough funds to carry out key development projects.

“This partnership marks a pivotal moment in our journey towards innovation, efficiency and community growth. The PayRates initiative is a testament to our commitment to innovation and our dedication to enhancing the lives of the communities we serve. By digitising property rates collection, we are not only making payments more convenient but also improving the efficiency and transparency of the entire system,” said Aisam.

The development is designed to benefit all parties, with property owners enjoying a hassle-free payment experience with features such as automated reminders and easy online access to payment history.

For the city council, the platform promises a more efficient revenue collection process, reduced administrative costs and enhanced financial management.

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“Our partnership with the GCC reflects our shared vision of leveraging technology to drive positive change. We believe that by embracing digital solutions, we can create a more inclusive and prosperous society. Moving forward, Access Bank Botswana remains committed to exploring new ways to enhance our services and contribute to the development of our nation. We will continue to invest in cutting-edge technologies and forge strategic partnerships that drive progress and create value for our customers and communities,” promised Aisam.

Echoing these sentiments, GoSmartValue CEO, Sethebe Manake praised both Access and GCC for pushing the partnership through.

“The bank’s dedication to embracing cutting-edge solutions and fostering financial inclusivity has set a new benchmark in our industry,” mentioned Manake.

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Following its launch in Gaborone, it is hoped the model will eventually be adopted by other cities, towns and local authorities across the country.

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