Govt introduces programme for businesses to take advantage of ACFTA

Government has introduced a new programme to support Ghanaian businesses to take full advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement. 

The Business Regulatory Reform Programme seeks to, among other things, strengthen local industries to make them competitive and help make Ghana’s business environment the most transparent and efficient in Africa. 

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced the introduction of the programme at the Ghana Business Forum in Accra yesterday.

The Business Regulatory Reform Programme is a three-year initiative coordinated by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and implemented in partnership with other stakeholders.

The programme, aimed at improving the business atmosphere in the country, consists of seven components, President Akufo-Addo said.

He said the first component under the programme targeted reform initiatives which would ensure that Ghana’s position in the annual ‘Doing Business Ranking’ improved significantly. 

Additionally, he said a one-stop registry of all business regulations would be established under the programme.

The purpose of the one-stop registry, according to him, is to ensure that the inventory of business-related acts, legislative instruments, regulatory notices and administrative directives are available at a single electronic registry. 

“This will provide businesses with an easily accessible, one-stop repository of up-to-date information on all business regulations in the country,” he said.

Another component under the Business Regulatory Reform Programme is the establishment of an interactive web portal for public consultation with the government on business related policies and 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,” the President said. 

He said the programme would ensure a “Rolling Review of business regulations, using Regulatory Guillotine principles, which is a functioning e-Registry and Consultations Portal that will enable Ministries, Departments and Agencies to carry out systematically rolling reviews of regulations, in order to reduce turnaround times and the cost of compliance”.

The reforms programme would lead to the introduction of an impact assessment mechanism to build a permanent system for quality control of new business regulations, and safeguard the gains made from reforms, he said. 

“These assessments provide a tool to assess objectively the likely effects, positive and negative, of a new regulation, and propose better alternatives to achieve the agreed policy objective,” he said.

Also under the programme, he said there would be targeted regulatory relief for SMEs at early stages of development to stimulate higher levels of entrepreneurship and job creation in strategic sectors.

The last component under the programme, the President said, was a permanent Public-Private Dialogue Mechanism for structured dialogue between the government and the private sector. 

“These reforms to improve the business environment complement and reinforce the strong measures that have been taken for financial and economic stabilisation. 

“With the AfCFTA covering a market of 1.2 billion people, with a combined GDP of $3 trillion, across the 54 Member States of the African Union that have signed up to the Agreement, it will serve as the vehicle for us to trade with other AU Member States in a more modern and sophisticated manner”. 

“Empowered Ghanaian enterprises should be frontline actors of this new, exciting journey in Africa’s economic history,” he said. 

President Akufo-Addo expressed the government’s commitment to work closely with the private sector to create the needed job opportunities for Ghanaians. 

“My government, on its part, will continue to build an enabling environment to provide the private sector with the needed catalyst to operate profitably, grow and remain globally competitive,” he said. 

The 8th Edition of the Ghana Economic Forum (GEF) was held on the theme ‘Sustaining Financial and Economic Stability-The Key Priorities’.

From proposing the idea of Local Content in the petroleum sector at the 1st and 2nd editions, to the concept of the Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund at the 3rd edition, and the policy of the Energy Sector Levy at the 4th edition, the Ghana Economic Forum has contributed significantly to the policy discourse of the country. 

It was attended by top players in the private and public sectors, economists, among other stakeholders.

BY YAW KYEI

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