Private Enterprise Federation calls for expedite action

The Private Enterprise Federation (PEF) has discussed possible ways of designing a simplified process in order to increase the efficiency of business licensing and permits in Ghana so as to eliminate delayed mechanisms hindering the operation of business in Ghana.

The major challenge is the fact that the issuance of business licensing and permits over-delays which is does not provide the healthy atmosphere for businesses to operate in Ghana.

The Federation mention that the issuance of business licensing and permits in Ghana, a study conducted by PEF and supported by BUSAC revealed that in 2012/2013, 145 licences were supposed to be obtained by businesses before they can legally commence operations.

A presentation by the consultant, Mr. Kennedy Anaba, Lawfields Consult said, out of this number, six were identified to be cross sectorial.

This, he mentioned, include the zoning and building permits for building projects [Issued by the Town and Country Planning Department], environmental permits for activities with potential environmental hazards [Issued by the Environment Protection Agency], environmental certificates [Issued by the Environmental Protection Agency], business operating permits required by various Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies [Issued by the Metropolitan Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDA’s], Fire service certification [Issued by the Ghana National Fire and Rescue Service]; and factories, shops, and offices registration and certification requirements [Issued by the Factories Inspectorate].

According to him, the relevance of the forum was to see how these fundamental or basic requirements for business startups and operation could be streamlined and made Efficient, Convenient and Business friendly.

He said this at a private sector stakeholder meeting to validate position papers on streamlining cross sectorial licensing requirement in the business environment.

The Senior Economist of PEF, Mr. Moses Agyemang, told Punch that the varied challenges cut across all the sectorial agencies with major emphasis on personnel (technical staff) and the lack of adequate decentralised internet and communication infrastructure.

He summarized the recommendations made by the Federation, indicating that the service be permitted to retain at least 80-90% of the income it generates for purposes of purchasing logistics, training staff and undertaking public education on application procedures.

According to the Senior Economist, the creation of a one stop shop to streamline licence application processes between agencies/E-application platforms to enhanced with modernization infrastructure.

Mr. Agyemang added that the creation of a system/platform that allows all relevant agencies that are involved in the processing of business applications to monitor and expedite service delivery by effectively communicating with one another on one platform (One shop platform).

He added the repeal of Cap 84 of 1945-Financial Autonomy/removal of discretionary power to grant or refuse applications is currently underway thus; delays caused by arbitrary use of discretionary powers by MMCE’s/DCE’s in the approval committee level shall be mitigated completely.

By Abubakari Seidu Ajarfor, [email protected]

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