MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY LAUNCHES BUSINESS REGULATIONS STRATEGY
In line with the President’s vision for rapid industrialization to deliver jobs, the Ministry of Trade and Industry and other collaborating Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) has developed a three-year Business Regulations Strategy (BRS) which aims to modernize the quality of Ghana’s legal/regulatory systems to promote faster growth, job creation, and economic prosperity.
The Strategy, which was launched by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Hon. Alan Kyerematen, is designed to be systemic and permanent in its effects by changing how the Government designs and implements business regulations in the future.
Within the broader national economic reform agenda, the BRS aims to eliminate constraints to economic development, deepen and broaden current reform efforts in order to establish a national regulatory environment that sustainably reduces red-tape and barriers and better promotes private sector activity and job creation.
Prior to the implementation of the strategy scheduled to begin in June 2017, an initial reform effort was directed at improving Ghana’s performance in four out of ten indicators in the World Bank Doing Business Report. These are “Starting a Business, Dealing with Construction Permits, Getting Electricity, and Trading across Borders” which are all fundamental to entrepreneurship, manufacturing and trade competitiveness.
The approaches deployed include a review of Ghana’s regulatory requirements (procedure, time and cost) in comparison with benchmark practices, before applying clear criteria to “maintain, simplify or eliminate.” Using a series of time-bound structured working group sessions with Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and private sector users of regulatory services, the “Doing Business” Task Team at MoTI led mapping (process, institutional and legal) exercises to agree reform actions. This was followed by additional due diligence of back office operations and legal analysis by the “Doing Business” Team to devise the final recommendations and an actionable road map.
The recommended reforms are set out in the Fast-track phase and phase two (2). It is the fervent hope of Government that the implementation of these reforms will go a long way to impact positively on Government’s commitments towards ensuring that this country witnesses significant economic growth and development culminating in massive employment opportunities for the populace especially the youth.
The deliverables of the BRS will be implemented through an Action Plan with a strong Monitoring and Evaluation mechanism.
The BRS has the following seven elements:
Reform 1: Rapid Improvement of the Doing Business Indicators
Ghana’s public commitment to good regulation has been undermined by the rapid deterioration in its "Doing Business” rankings over the past few years. Government’s target of making Ghana Best in Africa in the 2019 rankings is on course with the initial establishment of four reform area groups. These are 1) Starting a business, 2) Dealing with construction permits, 3) Getting electricity and; 4) Trading across borders. The first group of reforms have actually been activated and this has led to some significant gains including in the area of getting a TIN and subsequently, registering a business.
Reform 2: Creation of a regulatory inventory and national Ghana Regulatory Registry (GRR) with positive security
This activity seeks to build a secure centralized electronic registry of all legal documents and related forms that can be used by people, businesses, public administration, and courts in accessing the rules, procedures, and forms of Ghana. The most important characteristic of a high-quality regulatory system is the transparency that it provides and the associated confidence that it brings to investors.
Reform 3: Rolling regulatory review of all business regulations
This seeks to implement a rapid and rolling regulatory review of Ghana’s regulations based on regulatory guillotine principles that eventually covers all business regulations, with an ambitious target of 50-60% reduction in cost and restrictions without increasing risks to consumers, workers or the environment.
Reform 4: Centralized constitution web portal and a new transparency regime/consultation law
Ghana’s current consultation practices for new regulations do not fully meet international good standards. Ghana does not have a legal requirement to consult on all legal documents and actions that affect the private sector. This reform, therefore, seeks to construct a centralized web portal which would be accompanied by a new consultation that sets out minimum standards for consultation that are applicable across the entire government.
Reform 5: Regulatory relief for SMEs and entrepreneurs at early stages of growth
This seeks to target regulatory reform programmes to stimulate entrepreneurship across the economy in Ghana with a view to accelerating inclusive growth that offers a range of new opportunities to the nation’s young people.
Reform 6: Sustainability strategy with a regulatory reform unit and Regulatory Impact Assessment(RIA) as follow on steps. Ghana’s regulatory reform strategy should plan for institutionalization of the disciplines and control mechanisms needed to ensure the new laws and regulations to meet the standards of efficient, market friendly, and effective regulation in future. This reform area further seeks to build capacity for institutionalizing good quality controls, both in the public sector and in civil society.
Reform 7: Communicate about the whys of reform to the public, and build capacities in the business and other stakeholder communities for effective participation in the new regulatory system. Developing and implementing a comprehensive communication and public consultation strategy will be a critically important component of the reform process. This strategy will be aimed at communicating to the key stakeholders and public the key messages that this initiative is aimed at reviving the economy of Ghana, increasing its competitiveness in external markets and elsewhere through enabling private sector-led economic growth, opening new opportunities for people, ensuring decent living standards for the citizens, and more importantly, spreading the benefits of reform broadly across society.