Lusaka resident protests high accountancy fees
By Staff Reporter
A Lusaka resident has written to the office of the Attorney General, seeking a meeting over high fees Finance minister Margaret Mwanakatwe introduced for accountancy services about four months ago.
Elasto Mambo of EMM Chartered Accountants has complained that the fees are too much for small business entities.
According to a Statutory Instrument number 34 of 2018 signed by Mwanakatwe dated April 27, the lowest charge for accountancy services is about K4, 862 per hour.
“…A member shall charge a client, a service fee as set out in the Schedule. An accountant shall not charge a client a service fee below the fee scale set out in the Schedule,” reads the Statutory Instrument in part.
“Scale of members’ fees:
Position Fee unit per hour Senior/Managing/Partner 13, 334 Partner 11, 112 Senior Manager 10, 418 Manager 8,334 Supervisor 7, 640 Audit Senior 6, 250 Semi Senior 5, 556 Assistant Auditor 4,862.”
But Mambo, through his lawyers M Associates, is seeking a meeting with the Attorney General’s chambers and Mwanakatwe.
“We have been retained by Mr. Elasto Mambo of EMM Chartered Account[ant]s who has instructed that we engage your chambers and that of the Office of the Minister of Finance on the inappropriateness of the aforesaid statutory instrument signed by the minister on 16thApril,” the letter dated August 17 reads in part.
“Our client contends that the prescribed fees are unaffordable to most businesses in Zambia especially SMEs and start-up businesses. By illustration, an audit of a typical company in Zambia including compilation of audit reports require circa (2) two weeks and at least 2 auditors, i.e 8 hours per day x 14 days or 104 hours x K13, 334 per hour x 2 persons. This scenario suggest[s] that a client would pay circa K2, 773, 472.00 for a single audit.”
Mambo further argued that the statutory Instrument was ambiguous as it conflicted with the Fees and Fines Act (statutory Instrument number 41 of 2015).
He contended that while the Fees and Fines Act valued a fee unit at K0.30 per unit, SI 34 was silent on how the fees should be computed per unit.
“Either way, the prescribed rates in the impugned SI are prohibitive and unreasonable as the business and economic environment currently obtaining in Zambia cannot sustain such an SI. It will not be long before the business community voice out their own protest against the said SI,” stated Mambo. “It is on the premise of the foregoing that we urge the Attorney General to coordinate a meeting between the Office of the Minister of Finance and the Council of the Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants (ZICA) to revisit this SI with a view to repeal or amend it so as to reduce the fees to sustainable rates or leaving the prices to the market forces.”