A multisectoral technical team from various Ministries, Government Departments and Agencies has presented a far-reaching 10 point business reform plan to major stakeholders in Accra aimed at creating a radically more business friendly regulatory environment. The proposed reforms were formally unveiled by Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.
The reforms are purposely structured to make Ghana an easier haven for doing business and seek to make the country more attractive to investors, both local and foreign. The planned reforms form part of the framework set by World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report, which provides measures of business regulations for local firms and companies in 190 economies and some selected cities.
The World Bank’s ease of doing business report is recognized as a global benchmark for measuring how friendly countries are in terms of doing business and this has created a form of competition among countries to reform their business sectors in order to see improvement on their World Bank’s ease of doing business ranking. Currently, Ghana is ranked 114th, six places up from last year’s 120th position.
The business reforms cut across a number of steps aimed at harnessing and speeding up the process of doing business. They include the following: Tax Identification (TIN) Numbers, will now be generated automatically online at the point of application; and a mobile application software and an online platform for ease of filing tax returns will be launched to enable Individuals and corporate entities file their taxes online from April 2019.
Others are the implementation of an electronic justice system that allows the automated serving of court process with speed and ease; removal of the requirement for a commissioner of oaths in registering a company when the companies bill (currently being considered by Parliament) is passed; and automation of the construction permit system and the application for Business Operating Permit along with instant online issuance of receipt after payment is done.
In addition to these reforms, there will be merger of all four starting-a-business application forms namely TIN application, Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) application, business operating permit application and Business Registration forms; and reduction and automation of steps to getting better utility services such as electricity.
The other impending reforms are reduction in physical examination of containers through the use of risk engine; and the passing of the Insolvency Bill and the Companies’ Bill into law by Parliament.
Regarding the launch of a mobile application software that seeks to enable individuals and corporate entities file their tax returns, earlier this year, the Deputy Commissioner, Policy and Programmes for the GRA Mr. Nathan Nettey told the Goldstreet Business that the modalities of the automation process will commence from the Large Taxpayers Office (LTO) who will have their returns filed electronically and payment done in similar fashion before moving on to the Medium Taxpayers Office (MTO).
By Dundas Whigham