Ghana has embarked on an ambitious exercise that would see the country becoming the most friendly business destination on the African continent in three years.
Trade and Industry Minister Allan Kyeremanteng launched the Business Regulatory Strategy on Monday 29th May 2017 aimed at improving the country’s ranking on the World Bank “Doing Business Index” which stands at 109th out of 190 economies around the world.
The initiative by the Ministry in collaboration with relevant MDAs is to be implemented within the next 3 years to modernize the quality of Ghana’s legal and regulatory systems to promote faster growth, job creation and economic prosperity. It is expected Ghana would have moved to the 40th on the doing business index and the most business friendly country in Africa.
Mr. Kyeremanteng explained that the Business Regulatory Strategy does not exhaust all the interventions of government in supporting the private sector, adding that there are specific interventions in respect of how government is helping the private sector.
“Our starting point is that government has a very ambitious and comprehensive program for industrial transformation. This is all targeted at making Ghana the most business friendly country in the whole of Africa; we are doing this because the number one development priority of this government is to create jobs and we believe that it is through industrial transformation that we can do it” he told journalist after engaging stakeholders on the rapid reform action plan implementation. He added that government had given an indication of the road map of realizing the objectives.
Four (4) Critical Reform Areas
The reforms were scheduled for roll out in June 2017; however, an initial reform effort directed at improving Ghana’s performance in four (4) out of ten (10) indicators in the “Doing Business Report” has been carried out.
Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Robert Ahomka Lindsay summed up the critical areas that government was reforming to ease the cost of doing business which in effect “would give meaning to the tax cuts announced in the 2017 Budget and Economic Policy”.
Starting a Business
With the reformed processes, a Tax Identification Number (TIN) can now be acquired within one (1) day instead of the initial two (2) days. The front office procedures for the Registrar General’s Department have been reorganized to put the company inspectors at the forefront of the application process, thereby reducing the number of times an application has to be valid.
Obtaining a certificate to commerce business is now being issued simultaneously with certificate of incorporation.
There has been a reduction in the processing time for the conduct of title search at the Lands Commission from 14 days to 5 days, for an ordinary search. Obtaining a fire protection report from the Ghana National Fire Service has now been decentralized, including approval of fire permits from the headquarters to the regions.
Currently, obtaining an Environmental Impact Approval from the EPA has been reduced from 7 to 5 days; while multiple approvals for securing a building permit have been eliminated.
Additionally, a joint technical committee reviewing meetings, inspections, notification and approvals have all been streamlined into a mandatory 30-day cycle.
Connecting to power has been streamlined with the transmission of application to the ECG for estimates from Regional Director to the Director of Engineering. Equally, site visits, engineering design study/estimates and approvals have been streamlined.
Trading Across Borders
The government’s technical partner for the implementation of the Ghana National Single Window Project – West Blue Consulting, is currently working with key stakeholders in both the public and private sector to fast track trade facilitation processes at the ports with a view to improving the turn-around time at the ports.
In conclusion, Mr. Lindsay said “the government of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo believes that the private sector, which creates employment opportunities to complement government’s efforts, should be supported with programmes, policies and interventions to facilitate growth, and this will be vigorously pursued”.
By: Joe Bright Nyarko