Accra, June 13, GNA - The Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama, has urged all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to comply with the 'Fee Fixing Guidelines' document in their revenue mobilisation.
She said the 'Guidelines' comprehensively describe local revenue items to enable the MMDAs properly define them for comparison and analysis across districts.
She said MMDAs were not supposed to exceed the upper limits of the fees in the guidelines unless approval has been sought from the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
Hajia Mahama made these remarks on Tuesday at a one-day Validation Workshop on the 'Draft Fee Fixing Guidelines' in Accra.
The final draft 'Fee Fixing Guidelines' has been developed by the Ministry in collaboration with the Fiscal Decentralisation Unit of the Ministry of Finance and some selected MMDAs
The revised guidelines for charging of Fees for the provision of services and facilities and granting of licences and permit by MMDAs are contained in a 77-page document.
The United Kingdom through the Department for International Development (DFID) provided funding for the review of the 'Fee Fixing Guidelines' as well as the validation of the document at the regional and the national levels.
Hajia Mahama said the local revenue items embedded in the Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System were also currently being reviewed, in line with the items in the 'Guidelines', to enable Assemblies easily identify these items in the Chart Accounts.
She said the importance of local revenue generation could not be overemphasised, if MMDAs were to effectively carry out their major function of service delivery to citizens; devoid of over-reliance on Central Government transfers.
'In order to increase local revenue generation, there is also the need for an increase in the sources of Internally Generated Funds apart from the current ones being explored by the assemblies; namely licences, fees, fines, investment, rate, land and rent.
'In this vein, the MMDAs are being encouraged to identify new revenue sources that would enhance local revenue generation to meet the needs and aspirations of the citizens,' she said.
She said fines to be charged by the MMDAs include building offences such as development without permit, occupying newly completed houses without Occupancy (Habitation) Certificate, unauthorised placements and refusal to obtain permit.
She said to enable the MMDAs generate revenue within the areas of their jurisdiction, the Local Government Act 2016, Act 936 empowers them to charge fees/rates for the provision of services, facilities and businesses in the districts.
However, the Act also empowers the Ministry to regulate the fees charged in order to ensure uniformity in the rates and also discharge the issuance of outrageous fees.
She said the MLRD was therefore, mandated by law under Sections 150, 137 and 141 of the Local Governance Act (Act 936), to issue Guidelines on fee-fixing and rate impose, with proposed ranges, to serve as the basis on which MMDAs were to pass their Fee-Fixing Resolutions from time to time.
The Minister said a Mathematical formula had also been prescribed within the draft document for use by all MMDAs for the annual review of their fees.
She lauded the DFID for the support to the Ministry in the implementation of the Business Enabling Environment Project, an intervention which seeks to reduce the time and cost of doing business at the district level with regards to the issuance of building/construction permits in four MMDAs.
Ms Nathalie Bouchez, Component Manager, Internally Generated Fund, GIZ, said the 'Fee Fixing Guidelines' document was a very crucial and would serve as a key cornerstone in the process of revenue mobilisation at the local levels.
Mr Isaac Kojo Hagan, DFID, said the Department was working with the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) on improving tax payer services particularly for small and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs).
He said as part of this effort, the GRA was developing a self-help software for taxpayers; which provides a convenient, simple and accurate means for taxpayers, especially SMEs, to compute their tax returns and liability, before filing taxes.
By Iddi Yire/Amadu Kamil Sanah, GNA