The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) has announced its decision to maintain the current Business Operating Permit (BOP) fees for the 2024 fiscal year.
According to the AMA, the decision not to increase the BOP fees which was reached after a series of engagements with its stakeholders sought to among other things reduce the financial burden on businesses and support their recovery efforts and growth.
The announcement was made during a stakeholder engagement meeting organised by the Budget Department of AMA on the preparation of the 2024 Fee Fixing Resolution (FFR) at the Rev. Thomas Birch Freeman Memorial Methodist Society in Jamestown.
The purpose of the meeting which was in accordance with the Local Government Act 2016 (Act 936) Section 144, 145 and 146 and guidelines for charging fees for the provision of services and facilities granting of licenses and permits to solicit views and recommendations on the preparation of the 2024 FFR and sensitize stakeholders on the new digitization of revenue collections and payments to be rolled out.
Speaking during the engagement, the Mayor of Accra, Hon Elizabeth Kwatsoe Sackey in a speech read on her behalf by the Coordinating Director of the AMA, Mr Douglas N.K Annoful said the fees played an integral role in funding essential services and infrastructure projects in the metropolis and emphasized the importance of ensuring a balance between regulatory requirements and the economic realities faced by businesses in the metropolis.
"Assembly cannot effectively realise its objectives without the needed contribution from all concerned stakeholders...We are committed to ensuring a balance between regulatory requirements and the economic realities faced by businesses in the metropolis whilst prioritising effective regulation and enforcement," he said.
He assured that the AMA would not relent on its responsibilities in formulating and executing plans, programs and strategies for the effective mobilization and utilisation of resources necessary for the overall development of people in the metropolis.
He emphasized the importance of timely payment of business permit fees and entreated all ratepayers in the city to honour their financial obligations to the Assembly to provide basic infrastructure, promote quality health service delivery, teaching and learning, local economic development as well as ensure effective management of sanitation, peace and security.
He advised business owners in the metropolis to provision the needed information to officials of the Assembly when they visit to enable the Assembly to place businesses in their right categories and stressed that the AMA remained open to further dialogues with the businesses to find feasible solutions to benefit all stakeholders.
The decision to maintain the current business operating permit fees was met with joy and relief by businesses. While some had hoped for a reduction in fees, the non-increasing of the current rates brings a sense of stability during these uncertain times.
Business owners who spoke after the engagement expressed their gratitude for the decision, emphasizing the significance of the local authority's understanding of the challenges faced by businesses.
It's refreshing to see that the local authority is aware of the challenges businesses are facing and has made a decision that supports our recovery efforts. This sends a positive message that they are committed to helping us succeed", expressed Sarah Johnson, owner of Pipulo Enterprise.
Present at the meeting were the heads of department and staff of the AMA, artisans, community-based organisations, financial institutions, and opinion leaders among others.