Government is expected to implement the Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) policy aimed at enhancing the quality of business-related policies and regulations.
According to the Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Robert Ahomka Lindsey, the move will create a well-trained cadre of RIA practitioners within government, initially concentrating on the Ministries, Departments, Agencies and institutions concerned.
RIA is part of a larger initiative to revive the economy of Ghana, increase its competitiveness in both domestic and external markets through enabling private sector-led economic growth, open new opportunities for people, and ensure decent living standards for the citizens.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ sensitisation forum in Accra, the minister stated that a series of sequenced intensive training, piloting and capacity building interventions culminating in a policy and institutional framework for RIA mainstreaming and coordination have been outlined for implementation.
“It allows you to assess the impact of any single regulation you want to put in place in a manner that is inclusive, in a manner that allows you to receive the impact hopefully; and the desire is that you do not put the wrong regulation in place to hurt you.
“It allows regulations which you may not have thought of through the feedback you get from various stakeholders such as businesses, trade unions, market women. This is very important; it is these regulations that businesses use in making decisions,” he said.
If used systematically and integrated with a public consultation strategy, RIA can be an effective tool to reduce both costs and risks caused by laws and other regulations, the minister noted.
The minister also announced that the Business Regulatory Reform Team, with funding support from DfID, is creating a Centralised Public Consultations Portal – a customised Web-Based Platform with appropriate functionalities to link key MDAs to this portal.
The objective of the stakeholders’ forum on RIA was to present the concept of Regulatory Impact Assessment, and discuss the different models and mechanisms for RIA coordination within government with stakeholders in order to solicit their input.
On his part, Jorge Velazquez Roa, director at Cordova and Associates – partners at the forum, lauded government for undertaking the impact assessment initiative and indicated that in Africa not many countries have adopted it.
“It is an important step government has taken; RIA is not a one-day action and it takes time, so it is the right moment to start socialising what is real to make people understand. It has to do with culture of administrative procedures and it takes time to get embedded in the machinery of government,” he added.
The two-day sensitisation forum is expected to provide an overview of current international trends and principles of good regulatory practices, and explain the economic logic of how RIA will help increase profits and markets for Ghanaian businesses and provide more choice and lower prices for consumers.
It is also to frame the RIA initiative in the national policy for better regulation.
Furthermore, it will examine how RIA can address Ghana’s regulatory challenges. It will cover main features of the RIA system, its contributions to reducing the risks of regulatory failures when meeting the needs of evolving markets; and to improving consumer welfare and supporting good public governance.
Among the benefits of RAI at the microeconomic level are that it promotes more business entry and start-ups, more jobs at higher wages, more innovation, and more stable long-term growth.
There is also easy access to rules on commercial actions, legal security and protected property rights as well as predictability and guaranteed input into rules before they are adopted.