Businesses advocate improvement in safety, security of investment

Respondents of the 2022 Ghana Business Environment and Com­petitive Survey Report have advocated reforms in the safety and security of investment to improve ease of doing business in the country.

They also called on the gov­ernment to intensify efforts to lower corruption and improve transparency and bureaucracy, according to the 4th edition of the annual report released by The UK- Ghana Chamber of Commerce (UKGCC).

“It was observed that for businesses to prosper over time, the government must support successful regulatory reforms and guarantee a stable macroeco­nomic environment,” it said.

More than 300 companies from 16 industries, ranging from small to large companies, partic­ipated in the survey that aims to increase the understanding of opportunities and challenges that the Ghanaian market presents for UKGCC members and businesses generally.

The 2022 edition of the survey, started in 2019, provides a comprehensive analysis of several important indications of the current business climate as perceived by businesses, offering a data-driven look at the trends shaping the business landscape.

Although the survey results indicated that most businesses perceived the business environ­ment in 2022 improved over 2021, it said challenges such as corruption, Ghana’s taxation sys­tem, the price of land and power, and present additional economic obstacles held businesses back.

“Businesses continue to list the cost of gasoline as their highest operating expense; fol­lowed by cost of power, cost of machinery, and cost of technolo­gy. These factors, it was indicated, strain their already limited finan­cial resources,” the report said.

These notwithstanding, busi­nesses highlighted several factors positively affecting their perfor­mance in Ghana, including less expensive and competent labour; local marketing costs, certification and quality control charges, and lower costs of locally obtained raw materials

“These indicators have shown consistency in their ranking of lower costs of doing business in Ghana over prior year’s survey report,” it said.

Commenting on the report, the UKGCC Executive Council Chairman, Anthony Pile, said despite the current turbulent cir­cumstances, there was an encour­aging, yet cautious optimism for the future.

“It is, therefore, important for all business environment stakeholders, especially the government, policy makers, and businesses to plan for the risks and uncertainties and build the re­silience to withstand any unantici­pated shocks in 2023,” he said,

Commenting on the report, Vish Ashiagbor, Country Senior Partner of PwC, a UKGCC mem­ber company and consultants/ad­visors for the report, commended the government for improve­ments made, but expressed worry over the worsening problem of corruption and its adverse impact on businesses.

“In as much as some improve­ments were recorded last year, the regulatory frameworks, availability of power and legal systems have all declined. In PwC Ghana’s view, these setbacks are well with­in government’s reach to improve, and should, therefore, remain high on the agendas of advocacy groups like business chambers,” he said.

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