Dr. Bawumia ‘manipulates’ “World Bank Ease of Doing Business” survey in Ghana

Dr. Bawumia ‘manipulates’ “World Bank Ease of Doing Business” survey in Ghana

"The Economic Management Team chaired by Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, kindly invites you to the Stakeholder's Sensitization Forum for Ghana's Reform for Ease of Doing Business"

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The Chairman of the Economic Management Team (EMT) and Vice President of Ghana, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has met with Respondents of “World Bank Ease of Doing Business” survey in Ghana in bid of influencing the Respondents answers to the questionnaires given to them by the World Bank.

The Respondents to the “World Bank Ease of Doing Business” survey in Ghana have up to March 19, 2019 to submit their completed questionnaires whose report will be released in 2020 – Ghana’s Presidential and Parliamentary election year.

Awake News has obtained a copy of the invitation letter dated February  18, 2019 from the Vice President, Dr. Bawumia and signed by the secretary to the EMT, Prof. Amoako Tuffuour inviting the respondents for a meeting at Labadi Beach Hotel on 11th March 2019.

According to the letter, “The Economic Management Team chaired by His Excellency Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, kindly invites you to The Stakeholder’s Sensitization Forum for Ghana’s Reform for Ease of Doing Business”

The letter said the meeting will focus on some specific areas which Awake News’ checks revealed are among the 10 World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business survey for 2020.

“The stakeholders’ forum is undertaken by the government seeks to improve the business environment in Ghana which includes starting a business, obtaining construction permits, getting electricity, trading across borders and solving insolvency” – the letter addressed to the Respondents read.

The Vice President, after meeting with the World Bank’s survey respondents, announced “10-point business reform plan to remove bottlenecks” in the country.

According to him, government has initiated 10 critical policy measures by various Ministries, Departments and Agencies to improve the country’s business environment.

How Ghana fared in previous year’s Ease of Doing Business Report:

Ghana is ranked 114 among 190 economies in the ease of doing business, according to the latest World Bank annual ratings. The rank of Ghana improved to 114 in 2018 from 120 in 2017. Ease of Doing Business in Ghana averaged 90.55 from 2008 until 2018, reaching an all time high of 120 in 2017 and a record low of 60 in 2010.

Below is BTF’s publication on the Vice President’s announcement as sighted by Awake News:

A multi-sectoral technical team across government agencies presented the ambitious business reform plan to key stakeholders in Accra yesterday.

The reforms cover starting a business, obtaining construction permits, getting electricity, trading across borders, and resolving insolvency. The reforms will take effect between March and June 2019.

The planned reforms are within the framework of the World Bank Group’s Doing Business Report, which provides objective measures of business regulations for local firms in 190 economies and selected cities at the sub-national level.

The Doing Business Report has become the global benchmark for measuring how friendly countries are for businesses.

The ‘zero-sum ranking’ fosters keen competition among countries as those that don’t reform faster than their peers can go down in the ranking even if their business environment does not change. Ghana ranked 114th in the 2019 ranking, up from 120th in 2018.

“These reforms are a further demonstration of government’s commitment to removing the obstacles that have long kept businesses in Ghana from reaching their full potential. We aim to unleash the Ghanaian entrepreneurial spirit and open our doors to the world,” Dr Bawumia said.

TIN to be generated automatically online

The Vice-President said companies applying to register without a Tax Identification Number (TIN) would have their TIN generated automatically online at the point of application.

Filing tax returns online

He stated that a mobile app would be launched in addition to an online platform for the ease of filing tax returns, where individuals would be able to file their taxes online by April 2019.

Electronic justice system

Dr Bawumia announced the implementation of an electronic justice system that allows the automated serving of court process with speed and ease.

Commissioner of oaths in registering a company to be scrapped

He revealed that the requirement for a commissioner of oaths in registering a company would be scrapped when the Companies Bill is passed into law.

4 Processes to be merged

The Vice-President also disclosed that TIN application, Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SNNIT) application, Business Operating Permit application, and Business Registration forms will be merged into one.

Instant online issuance of Business Operating Permit

Dr Bawumia stated that the application for Business Operating Permit will be automated with instant online issuance following payment.

Automation of the steps to getting electricity

Another process he mentioned is reduction and automation of the steps to getting electricity extended to the premises of businesses.

Automation of construction permit system

He also announced the automation of construction permit system along with instant online issuance following payment.

Reduction in physical examination of containers

Dr Bawumia listed reduction in physical examination of containers through the use of risk engine.

Insolvency and Companies bills

According to him, government is working towards the passing of the Insolvency Bill and the Companies Bill into law by Parliament.

“Through our work in advising government in over 80 countries globally and over 30 in this region, we know that having the commitment at the highest level of leadership is one of the most important ingredients of the reform agenda,” said Ronke-Amoni Ogunsulire, International Finance Corporation (IFC) Country Manager for Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger, and Togo.

“With the appropriate reform structures in place, efficient co-ordination and accountability mechanisms, Ghana has the right formula to succeed and implementing an investment climate conducive to growth of businesses,” she added.

The objective of the Doing Business Stakeholders’ Workshop was to engage and create awareness within the private sector, which is ultimately the beneficiary of the ambitious reforms introduced by the Government of Ghana.

By: Efo Korsi Senyo / AwakeNewsOnline.com