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Help improve ease of doing business- Bawumia charges state agencies

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Help improve ease of doing business- Bawumia charges state agencies

Help improve ease of doing business- Bawumia charges state agencies

The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has charged state agencies whose mandate have a direct impact on businesses and investments to implement reforms that will help improve the country’s ease of doing business. The World Bank ranked Ghana 114th out of 190 countries in the world and 14th in sub-Saharan Africa in its latest ease of doing business ratings.

The latest ranking means that Ghana has moved six places up from the 2018 ratings that saw the country place 120th.

However, speaking at a national stakeholders’ meeting on reforms by the government to further improve ease of doing business in Accra yesterday, the Vice-President said although the country had made some gains, more work needed to be done to consolidate the gains and make Ghana the preferred destination for investors.

“The reasons behind the improved performance in the ease of doing business in 2019 are improvement in trading across borders through the implementation of the paperless customs clearance system, construction permits that strengthen construction quality controls and improvement in paying taxes.

“But we only moved up by six places; meanwhile the ranking is very competitive and all countries are reforming their operations to do well. So if we go to sleep, others will overtake us,” he said.

The meeting brought together officials from ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), such as the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), the Registrar-General’s Department, the Judicial Service and some private sector players.

Key personalities who were at the meeting included the Senior Minister, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo; the Registrar-General, Mrs Jemima Oware; the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GEPA, Ms Afua Asabea Asare, and a Supreme Court judge, Mr Justice Marful-Sau.

The meeting was meant to appraise the reforms being taken by the agencies to improve service delivery to help improve the business environment.

The MDAs made presentations on how they were reforming to deliver on their mandates.

Dr Bawumia said the marginal improvement in the country’s ease of doing business was a reflection of the strategic steps the government had taken to digitise access to public services and formalise the economy.

He said there was an urgent need for MDAs to make conscious efforts to implement more reforms to ensure that obstacles to business development were removed to boost investor confidence in the country.

That, he said, required that state institutions moved away from the manual processes in delivering services to electronic platforms that would reduce human interfaces and reduce corrupt practices.

He said the manual system did not only make service delivery more cumbersome but also increased the turn-around time and discouraged the business community from doing business.

For instance, he asked the Customs Division of the GRA to take steps to reduce the manual examination of cargo at the ports, since that process was counter-productive.

“Information available to me shows that 90 per cent of containers coming in are still being physically examined, but it also translates into a revenue gain of about 0.38 per cent.

“There is the need to move towards the use of scanners and risk engines to reduce the stressful exercise of bringing the cargo out and refilling it.

“If we use the risk engine and it shows green, we should allow the containers go, so that we reduce physical examination to about 10 per cent as soon as possible,” he said.

He commended the MDAs, especially the GRA, the Registrar-General’s Department and the Judicial Service, for starting processes to reform their operations.

Private sector

For his part, Mr Osafo-Maafo said there was the need for a concerted effort to consolidate the marginal gains in the ease of doing business by removing obstacles that hampered the growth of the private sector.

He said the document on reforms for improved service delivery that was developed by the previous government had been reviewed to include the private sector, with a view to making the private sector the real driver of growth.

He, therefore, urged the various public sector agencies to play their facilitation role well, so that the private sector would be empowered to grow its businesses and create jobs.

Mr Osafo-Maafo urged members of the public to show a sense of patriotism by fulfilling their tax obligations and also supporting reforms aimed at transforming the economy.

Source: Graphic.com.gh

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Poor records and non-existent data pose challenge to debt recovery – Governor

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Poor records and non-existent data pose challenge to debt recovery - Governor

Poor records and non-existent data pose challenge to debt recovery – Governor

Dr Ernest Yedu Addison, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, has stated that poor records and non-existent data has become a major challenge to receivers of the nine collapsed banks to recover debts owed to people and institutions.

He said out of the total loan debt of GH¢ 10.1 billion owed to people and institutions by these banks prior to the revocation of their licenses, only GH¢ 731 million have been recovered through loan repayment by customers, placement, liquidation of bonds and income and other income sources, leaving a balance of about GH¢ 9.3 billion yet to be recovered.

Dr Addison, addressing issues on the Banking Sector reforms at the fourth CEO Summit in Accra, said the difficulties had limited the effectiveness of the receivership process and delayed its outcomes.

He the situation had led to an engagement of the judicial system by the receivers to help in the recovery of certain assets from shareholders, directors and other loan defaulters.

He said there were currently about 50 cases pending before various courts across the country, but despite the efforts, the recovery process was being challenged by acts of some individuals involved, who had resorted to some measures to frustrate the system.

Dr Addison mentioned some of the challenges to include poor records, which made it difficult for receivers to identify and pursue some of the loan defaulters due to insufficient or non-existent information on their transactions.

He further explained that investigations so far had shown that some assets were not registered in the names of the financial institutions, but in the names of connected parties, making it difficult to dispose the underlined collaterals to offset their outstanding loans.

The Governor underscored the critical role of the judiciary in ensuring efficient adjudication in commercial cases, but said the country would not be able address some of the problems associated with the poor structural regime concerning Non-Performing Loans if the courts failed to adjudicate some of these cases with speed.

He recommended the possibility of setting up special courts to adjudicate matters relating to the specific issues arising out of the banks resolutions and revocation of licenses, as well as issues relating to collateral.

Dr Addison said a swift and fair judicial system would enhance the efforts being made by the Central Bank to bring some sanity into the banking sector, by fighting against financial crime including money-laundering.

Mr Ernest De-Graft Egyir, the Chief Executive of the Ghana CEO Network, thanked the Governor for shedding more light on what was going on in the banking sector, in order to ensure good corporate governance among the leadership of institutions.

He said the Summit on the theme: “The Futuristic Economy: Technology-Driven Future of Business and Governance for Economic Transformation,” had become necessary for discussions because the world of business and governance was at the threshold of transformation driven by emerging technologies.

He said the emerging technologies were profoundly changing the world of work, with regards to jobs, skills, education, industry, manufacturing, business models and economies among others, and CEOs must strategise to meet the demands and challenges that may arise from this transition.

Source: ghananewsagency.org

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BoG had 7 days worth of imports before requesting Fund’s support – IMF

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BoG had 7 days worth of imports before requesting Fund’s support – IMF

BoG had 7 days worth of imports before requesting Fund’s support – IMF

The International Monetary Fund’s Resident Representative to Ghana says when Ghana officially requested for the Fund’s support back in 2014, the country only had around seven days’ worth of imports in net foreign exchange reserves, equivalent to $400 million.

In an article, Dr Albert Touna-Mama said, “When Ghana officially requested the Fund support on August 8, 2014, the cedi had depreciated by 40 per cent, inflation was in the double-digits, and the Bank of Ghana only had around seven days’ worth of imports in net foreign exchange reserves, equivalent to $400 million.”

He added, “In the first half of 2014, the fiscal deficit was almost exclusively financed by BoG printing money for an amount equivalent to 22 per cent of the previous year’s fiscal revenue, compared with a target of only 5 per cent, as alternative financing sources were drying up fast. Interest rates stood at around 24–25 per cent on domestic debt.”

According to Dr Touna-mama, “The generous terms of the Fund financing provided Ghana with the needed breathing space to avoid resorting to measures that are harmful to national prosperity.”

“For instance, the Government was able under the programme not to accrue new arrears while at the same time adopting a clearance plan to deal with legacy arrears.”

The IMF Executive Board approved a $918 million loan to Ghana in 2015 to support a reform program aimed at faster growth and job creation while protecting social spending.

Source: Myjoyonline.com

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Government to offload shares of some state enterprises

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Government to offload shares of some state enterprises

Government has hinted of plans to offload part of its shares in some state enterprises onto the Ghana stock market.

The move is part initiative to power the private sector to hold a majority stake in some of the state enterprises. The government believes offloading the shares will maximise the profit of the enterprises.

In an interview with Joy FM, Chief Executive of the State Enterprises Commission Stephen Asamoah Boateng said discussions with the finance ministry are far advanced to float some of the state enterprises on the stock market.

The Chief Executive in the interview refused to disclose the possible state enterprises to be listed on the stock market.

“We are now preparing the grounds to see which ones are potentially good to float on the stock market so that Ghanaians can also buy into it, I am more relax in terms of getting the fundamentals right, now the new authority coming in need to get the structures going..”

He also explained the conversion of the commission into an authority and its centralisation.

“The other ministries which give policy directions sometimes they assume the role of ownership and you have the state enterprise setting there, the divestiture implementation committee so there were adverse authorities everywhere we have to bring everything under one authority to centralise it to have an oversight role and that authority then reports to the others including parliament.”

Source: primenewsghana.com

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