Gov’t woos investors with business regulatory reforms

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Photo: Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen

To make doing business attractive to both local and foreign investors, government has launched a Business Regulatory Reforms Portal, aimed at furnishing enterprises with needed information and assistance in order to reduce the stress they go through in getting the needed certification and permits to operate smoothly.

Ghana has moved four steps backwards in last year’s overall Doing Business ranking to 118 out of 190 economies assessed, the World Bank Doing Business Ranking report has shown, an indication that the business environment remains challenging to businesses.

The Business Regulatory Reform (BRR), therefore, is a three-year initiative of the government coordinated by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and implemented in partnership with various stakeholders which consists of seven components aimed at making Ghana the most transparent and efficiently regulated business environment in Africa.

Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen, speaking at the launch in Accra, said the closure of borders globally that came along with the coronavirus pandemic has made it more necessary to implement reforms that will attract private capital to the country. This, he said, can be achieved if private enterprises find doing business in the country less stressful and friendly, hence, the introduction of the BRR.

“If now it is becoming clear to us that we need the private sector, then you have to start thinking: how do we begin to attract private capital? It is an uncontestable fact that private capital moves to areas where they are pampered, where their value is recognised.

This, therefore, only means one thing, putting the private sector at the center of our development agenda.  It means we have to create an environment which will attract private capital. When we talk about investment climate or business regulatory climate, it is at the center of getting the private sector to aid our development. That is what our Business Regulatory Register is all about,” he said.

The seven components are: Targeted Reforms Initiatives; Inventory and Secure E-Registry of Business Regulations; Centralised Public Consultation Portal; Rolling Review of Business Regulations; Regulatory Impact Assessment; Targeted Regulatory Relief; and Permanent Private-Sector Dialogue.

The Targeted Reforms Initiatives focus on selected regulations relevant to the life cycle of domestic small and medium sized businesses. The indicators in the index include: starting a Business; dealing with construction/permits; enforcing Contracts; resolving insolvency; registering property; getting electricity; getting credit; protecting / investors; paying taxes; and trading across borders.

The Inventory and Secure E-Registry of Business Regulations is an inventory of business-related acts, legislative instruments, regulatory notices and administrative directives which will be made available in a single electronic registry (e-Registry) to provide businesses with an easily accessible, non-stop repository of up-to-date information on all business regulations in force in Ghana.

Then, the Centralised Public Consultation Portal is an interactive web portal for public consultation with government on business-related policy, legal and regulatory changes. Minimum standards for transparency in public consultation will be introduced, including a consultations schedule published on the portal with timelines for receiving inputs from interested stakeholders.

Again, on the portal is the Rolling Review of Business Regulations which will serve as a functioning e-registry and consultations portal to enable Ministries, Departments and Agencies to systematically carry out rolling reviews of regulations and reduce cost of compliance.

For the Regulatory Impact Assessment, it will build a permanent system for quality control of new business regulations and safeguard the gains made from reforms.

With regards to the Targeted Regulatory Relief, government will grant targeted relief for SMEs from regulatory requirements at early stages of development, in order to stimulate higher levels of entrepreneurship and job creation in strategic sectors, and gradually phase-in standard rules as the firms begin to grow. The purpose is to promote subcontracting linkages between SMEs and large industries in strategic anchor industries.

And for the Permanent Private-Sector Dialogue, a permanent mechanism for structured dialogue between government and the private sector will be established. An example is the Annual Presidential Business Summit.

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