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Parliament passes Fees and Charges (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, 2022

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Parliament on Thursday passed the Fees and Charges (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, 2022, to provide for an annual adjustment of fees and charges levied by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in line with prevailing economic conditions.

Mr Kwaku Agyeman Kwarteng, the Chairman of the Finance Committee of Parliament, urged the Minister of Finance to speed up the process for opening of holding accounts for all agencies to deter the practice of direct payment and disbursement of revenues from the collection accounts for operational purposes.

The Committee observed that the Fees and Charges (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, 2022, was part of the revenue measures outlined in the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government for the 2022 financial year.

The proposed adjustment of some of the fees and charges would contribute significantly to meeting the revenue targets outlined in the Budget for 2022 fiscal year.

The Committee also observed that microbusiness and petty traders generally did not need regulatory permit from the major industry regulator before they could supply to players of that industry.

It said for instance, a toilet roll supplier did not need a permit at a fee from the National Communications Authority before supplying to telecommunications companies or would such a supplier need a permit at a fee from the National Insurance Commission before supplying to insurance companies.

According to a memorandum from the Finance Ministry, accompanying the Fees and Charges Bill, Parliament passed the Fees and Charges (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018 (Act 983).

Act 983 transferred the authority to determine fees and charges under an enactment to the Minister responsible for Finance as well as mandates MDAs to conduct an annual review of the administrative efficiency of collection, the accuracy of past estimates and the relevance of fees and charges to current economic conditions.

Additionally, the Public Financial Management Regulations, 2019 (LI 2378) directs a Principal Spending Officer responsible for collecting various types of fees and charges to conduct an annual review of the administrative efficiency of past estimates and the relevance of rates, fees and charges and submit proposals through the Ministry responsible for Finance to Parliament for approval.

“Thus, the fees and charges collected by the MDAs for delivery of goods and services to the public have to be adjusted on a regular basis to keep pace with the current economic trends.

However, compliance with Act 983 and LI 2378 leaves much to be desired.

MDAs do not regularly submit proposals for review of fees and charges, resulting in exponential increases in gap between the cost-of-service delivery and approved fees.

In addition, the process for the review, approval and implementation of fees and charges takes a considerable amount of time.

To address this challenge, the Fees and Charges (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, 2022, seeks to establish a single schedule for all fees and charges for goods and services rendered to MDAs and provide for an annual adjustment of the fees and charges in line with prevailing economic conditions.

This is to ensure a regular review of the fees and charges levied by MDAs, avoid steep increases arising from long periods without review, bridged the growing gap between the cost-of-service delivery and approved fees and simplified the process for review of fees and charges to a single submission to Parliament as part of the annual budget.

Source: GNA

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