Business News of 2014-01-25

Ashanti Rural Banks unhappy with KMA new charges

The Ashanti Regional Rural Bank Managers have registered their deepest dissatisfaction with the recent new rates given them by the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, KMA to be paid within 2014. Notable among these rates is the Business Operating Permit which has been increased from GH¢1,000.00 to GH¢ 10,000 payable every year per branch representing 900% increase, which the managers say is too astronomical, unrealistic and above all unprecedented. This means a rural bank that operates about six branches in the metropolis is expected to pay a total of GH¢60,000 a year which obviously is impossible for most of them. The KMA has also increased charges of spaces allotted to these banks as car parking space for their customers from GH¢ 3,000.00 paid annually to GH¢324.00 every month per a parking slot. This, the managers have described as very exorbitant, unrealistic and very impossible for them to pay. “You see they have compared us to the commercial banks which some of them have only one branch office with massive liquidity support from their head offices abroad and are not even socially responsible”, a manager told this reporter in Kumasi. According to the Managers they were not involved in the process and the meeting they held to take such a major decision which they the rural banks have a major stake. The managers are of the view that government taxes such as VAT and withholding tax have seen some upward review coupled with the recent fuel price increases which is going to push up their operational cost. This they think KMA should have been considerate in this regard because they will not have any option than to push these charges to their customers to pay. The leadership of the Regional Managers’ Association has asked the Ashanti Chapter of the Association of Rural Bank to intervene. Checks made at the KMA just to find out what necessitated the huge jump and the criteria they used to fix those fees that resulted in that huge percentage increase. The Metropolitan Finance Officer Mr Justice Kingsley Ofori who signed the demand notice to the Banks said the previous charges were unrealistic and the KMA as mandated by law to fix its fees by the provisions of sections 34, 78, 94, and 98 of the Local Government Act 1993 (Act 462) and other relevant bye laws, now wants to charge realistic fees so that they can generate enough revenue to develop the city. According to the MFO, the banks are also required by law to pay the Business Operating Permit / Levy to the KMA on or before 31st March 2014. He added that the KMA reserves the power to prevent them from conducting any business activity in the Kumasi Metropolis in the event of their failure to comply with the demands of the notice. Meanwhile as at the time of going to press, the Managers had met in a closed door meeting at the Cecero Quest House in Kumasi to take a decision after which they will write formally to the Chapter to present their grievances to the KMA on their behalf. Anthony Darboh, Administrator – Ashanti Chapter