By YVONNE HAIP
LOCALLY-owned businesses in Mt Hagen city, Western Highlands province, owes city authority K1.2 million in outstanding land rates for last year.
About the same amount is still yet to be paid by the locally-owned business houses in trading licence fees.
Mt Hagen city authority was reluctant to release the names and number of business houses who had not paid their dues when asked, but said they would publish the information later.
Mayor Titus Doa said business houses in the city who do not want to pay must pack up and go elsewhere to do their business.
Mr Doa said it was not fair when some paid while the rest got a free ride.
He said some of the locally-owned businesses had not paid for some eight years, adding that those who had not paid last year and some years back, must make an attempt to settle their outstanding payments this year.
Before this month, business houses must pay up before the city authority forcefully closes their doors, he warned.
City manager Victor Megao said most business operators who failed to pay were the so-called ‘local businessmen and women’.
He said the city authority was not a money-making organisation, but was service-oriented, adding that it needed the money to carry out work in the city to keep it clean and tidy and also pay to its employees.
He said business houses and the public wanted to see changes take place in the city but without money, they could not do much.
Mr Megao said with the current increase in the price of goods and services, such payments were needed to run the city well.