The Registrar General, Mrs. Jemima Oware, has said the Beneficial Ownership Transparency document would be ready in March 2020 to help incorporate all stakeholders in the registration of companies in the country.
Being globally approved, she said, the Registrar General Department, was upgrading its business register electronically to capture data, including data on beneficial ownership to meet the recommendations of the Financial Hardship task force report to avoid being blacklisted in the business world.
The financial hardship task force made 40 recommendations on the need for the beneficial ownership data to be included in the business registry and charged all countries to implement and work adequately on the recommendations provided in the report to expose illegitimate activities in the business world.
This came to light at the closing session of a two-day workshop organised by the Registrar General Department's Department (RGD) with collaboration from the Strengthening Action against Corruption (STAAC)
Mrs. Oware noted that the government, through the RGD, had organised series of sensitisation programmes with stakeholders across the country to get them informed and involved, adding that the RGD would pilot project with the extractive industry.
According to her, the extractive industry has been collecting the beneficial ownership data already, so the basic thing was to put the information gathered from them on an excel sheet till the electronic register was ready for use.
She gave the assurance that the RGD would work assiduously to meet the 2020 target, stating that the department would engage stakeholders to discuss the regulations that would be formulated to help in the collection of the data.
Touching on reasons why people set up complex ownership, a representative of the Ghana Oil and Gas for Inclusive Growth (GOGIG), Mr. Samuel Bekoe, explained that some of these reasons were legitimate and legal.
'Companies set up complex ownership to make investment and protect trade secrets, due to the risk of exchange rates and diversify a business without affecting core brand,' he explained.
Mr. Bekoe observed that globally, this legal and legitimate reason had been abused to a level that it had allowed drug cartel, terrorist financing and led to many countries losing between 1.5 and 2 trillion dollars per year to corruption, hence, the alert on beneficial ownership.