General News of Friday, 20 January 2017
Senior Minister-designate, Yaw Osafo Marfo, has identified difficulties with land acquisition and the demand for rent advance as key problems confronting the growth of businesses in the country.
Explaining how he would help government to create a friendly business environment as promised by the New Patriotic Party in its 2016 manifesto, Mr Marfo told parliament’s Appointments Committee on Friday, 20 January that he would tackle the issue of land acquisition and rent to open the economy to businesses.
“One of the major hindrances to businesses in Ghana is land acquisition. The method is so complicated that sometimes when you look at it, you don’t understand. To really make the environment business friendly, we’ve got to look again at our land acquisition system in this country and as a Senior Minster coordinating these economic ministries, that will be one of my [focuses]. People come ready to invest and some of them are put off because of multiple sale of land to them. Sometimes, it is embarrassing. Some of these problems look small but they are complicated,” he stated.
“Rent system in this country is a problem. There is nowhere in the world where you pay rent advance for two years. If you go to Germany now by law you can’t take rent for more than three months. In our part of the world, people can take [rent advance] for two years. When there was a problem in Cote d’Ivoire, people wanted to relocate from Cote d’Ivoire to Ghana and I was involved, but they were put off by the rent advance. This is because if he was going take a premises for $5000 and he is to pay for two years in advance…you’re taking his working capital. Therefore, these are some of the things which may not look too obviously harmful to the economy but it’s harmful to the economy. Many of them were not prepared to borrow additionally to rent houses in Accra and, therefore, they moved to other places. So these are areas we have to look at to make the environment business-friendly.”