Stakeholders in the extractive and non-extractive industries have called for a zero percent threshold for companies registered in the country to help provide Beneficial Ownership Transparency in the economy.
To them, the move would help the country save money and combat illicit activities, while eliminating corruption and conflict of interest by some public officials.
The call was made at a two-day workshop in Accra, organised by the Registrar General's Department to discuss with stakeholders on possible ways Ghana could eliminate the bottlenecks associated with collection of data for business registration and come out with a threshold that would expose hidden shareholders.
The Registrar General, Mrs. Jemima Oware, said the objective of the project was to prevent corruption, illicit financial flows and tax invasion in the country.
She indicated that the government was putting together a document that would serve as a guide on what threshold should be given in the business register and how data should be collected to for purposes of transparency in a business transaction.
The Beneficial Ownership Transparency was first introduced in 2013 and became mandatory in 2016 globally with the aim of minimising domestic and cross-border bribery and corruption, fraud and illegal financial transaction.
It forms part of a wider process aimed at minimising the scope for money laundering and the activities of criminals involved in the illicit movement of funds to support arms and human trafficking as well as the financing of terrorism.
In a presentation on what had been done so far with regards to Beneficial Ownership Transparency, a Representative of the Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), Dr. Steve Manteaw stated that Ghana had developed templates to capture a comprehensive data for the business registry to ensure detailed information was captured on all business ownership for transparency.
He disclosed that the government lost millions of cedis to corruption in the extractive industry due to inadequate information during registration and illegal financial transaction.
Dr. Manteaw said the loss was due to the hidden beneficial ownership of companies involved in the sector which breeds movement of fund t to single owners of multiple organisations in the extractive sector.
He noted that the collation of Beneficial Ownership Data would expose and track the movement of funds in the extractive sector to reduce tax invasion, illicit financial projects and corruption.