The Vice President of the Republic, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has announced 10 measures introduced by various Ministries, Departments and Agencies over the past nine months in an effort to improve the country's business environment.
A multisectoral technical team from across Government agencies presented the ambitious business reform plan to key stakeholders at Labadi Beach Hotel.
The planned reforms are within the framework of the World Bank Group's Doing Business Report, which provides objective measures of business regulations for local firms in 190 economies and selected cities at the subnational level. The reforms will cover starting a business, obtaining construction permits, getting electricity, trading across borders, and resolving insolvency.
"These reforms are further demonstration of government's commitment to removing the obstacles that have long kept businesses in Ghana from reaching their full potential. We aim to unleash the Ghanaian entrepreneurial spirit and open our doors to the world" Vice President Bawumia said.
The Doing Business Report has become the global benchmark for measuring how friendly countries are for businesses. The "zero-sum ranking" fosters keen competition among countries as those that don't reform faster than their peers can go down in the ranking even if their business environment does not change. Ghana ranked 114thin the 2019 ranking, up from 120th in 2018.
"Through our work in advising Government in over 80 countries globally and over 30 in this region, we know that having the commitment at the highest level of leadership is one of most important ingredients of the reform agenda,"said Ronke-Amoni Ogunsulire, IFC Country Manager for Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger, and Togo. "With the appropriate reform structures in place, efficient coordination and accountability mechanisms, Ghana has the right formula to succeed and implementing an investment climate conducive to growth of businesses" she added.
Ghana's reforms which will take effect between March and June 2019 include:
1. For companies applying to register without a TIN number, the TIN number will now be generated automatically online at the point of application;
2. Launch of a mobile app and an online platform for the ease of filing tax returns; Individuals will be able to file their taxes online by April 2019
3. Implementation of an electronic justice system that allows the automated serving of court process with speed and ease;
4. Removal of the requirement for a commissioner of oaths in registering a company when the companies bill is passed;
5. Merger of all four starting-a-business application forms: TIN application, SNNIT application, Business Operating Permit application and Business Registration forms;
6. Automation of the application for Business Operating Permit along with instant online issuance following payment;
7. Reduction and automation of the steps to getting electricity;
8. Automation of the construction permit system along with instant online issuance following payment;
9. Reduction in physical examination of containers through the use of risk engine;
10. Government is working towards the passing of the Insolvency Bill and the Companies' Bill into law by Parliament.
The objective of the Doing Business Stakeholders workshop was to engage and create awareness within the private sector which is ultimately the beneficiary of the ambitious reforms introduced by the Government of Ghana.