Business News of Tuesday, 10 October 2017
A three-year Business Regulations Strategy (BRS) aimed at eliminating constraints, modernising the legal and regulatory systems to promote faster growth, job-creation and economic prosperity in the country’s corporate sector is being developed.
The strategy, spearheaded by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, in collaboration with other Ministries, Departments and Agencies, is designed to be systemic and permanent in its effects by changing how the government designs and implements business regulations in the future.
Mr. Carlos Ahenkorah, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, speaking at a National Exporters’ Forum in Accra explained that: “Within the broader national economic reform agenda, the BRS aims to promote economic development, deepen and broaden current reform efforts in order to establish a national regulatory environment that sustainably reduces red-tape and barriers, and better promotes private sector activity and job-creation”.
He added: “We are optimistic that this strategy will enhance business operations for better performance.
“Our goal as a government is simple: to build the most business-friendly and people-friendly economy in Africa, which will create jobs and prosperity for all Ghanaians.
“We will ensure that growth is socially responsible, diversified, spreads geographically, comes from genuine value addition, is environmentally sensitive, and fair to all participants in the economy including labour.”
He stated that government’s goal is to achieve double-digit Gross Domestic Product growth annually for the next four years, as it works to reduce the cost of doing business, maintain fiscal discipline, reduce borrowing and reduce interest rates to spur private sector investment.
“Our economic programme will further enhance agricultural production and productivity, along with a transformation of the economy through value-addition to raw materials in a process of rapid industrialisation.”
He observed that with exception of the year 2010, when Ghana recorded a trade surplus, the country has had a perennial trade deficit regime since 2004.
“I am, therefore, happy to inform you that indications equally point to a trade surplus regime this year. This surely calls for sustained focus and doubling of efforts by all actors in the sector.”
Ghana’s peers in sub-Saharan Africa are reforming faster and going further. For example, Kenya has improved its ease of doing business ranking from 129 to 108 in the last year alone. Ghana faces competition from other countries that have cottoned on to the importance of institutional reforms and cutting red-tape, initiatives that allow businesses to thrive, create jobs and pay taxes.
Many countries are redoubling their efforts at reforms and in some cases cutting substantially the regulatory burden – thereby easing the cost of compliance. In some jurisdictions businesses can be registered in a day.
In sub-Saharan Africa the best performers for starting a business are Burundi and Liberia, where it takes four days and four and a half days respectively.
In Ghana, it takes on average 14 days to register a business; and the cost of starting a business rose by 70 percent in 2012 alone. This means Ghana has competition for investment, and needs to do more to attract it.