Increased fees for country park activities such as fundraising and public speaking are being considered under a government review of charges. Officials have proposed increasing the cost of a permit for fundraising in country parks from $467 to $500. The cost of displaying signs in the parks is also set to rise by seven per cent from $237 to $255. Permits to hold public meetings or making speeches will increase from $467 to $500. Increases have also been proposed for manufacturing permits for electric products, and for safety certificates. The registration fee for electrical product manufacturers would be raised from $5,400 to $5,900. The fee for endorsement of periodic test certificates would rise from $650 to $695. However, the Government has also proposed a drop in the fees of five items, ranging from $5 to $135. These mainly cover electrical contractors' registrations. Explaining the package to the Legco sub-committee on fees and charges, Principal Assistant Secretary for Environment and Food Donald Tong Chi-keung said the fees should reflect the costs of issuing the licences and permits. Mr Tong said the increases were in line with government policy since the economy had revived and the fees concerned would not affect people's livelihood. But James Tien Pei-chun, chairman of the Liberal Party, said: 'If staff can increase efficiency in the coming year there will be no need to increase fees.' Mr Tong said it had been established practice to review these fees every four years. He said the increases reflected the workload as it was hard to offset operating costs by increasing efficiency. Chan Kam-lam of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong questioned the need to obtain a permit to publicly address others in country parks. He said this would violate speakers' human rights. But Wong Fook-yee, Assistant Director of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, said the permits were designed for the convenience of event organisers. The proposals will go to the House Committee for approval next month.