Business News of Tuesday, 13 August 2002
..to help determine cost of doing business
THE government has requested the Foreign Investment Advisory Service, a joint service of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the World Bank to conduct a survey of foreign and domestic investments to determine the cost of doing business in the country.
In addition to ascertaining the formal and informal cost of doing business in the country, the survey should help identify the main administrative and regulatory issues faced by the private sector in doing business.
A total of 400 domestic and foreign firms drawn from the manufacturing, industrial services and agricultural sectors will be interviewed as part of the survey from all parts of the country.
The programme is being funded by the advisory services and other international donors. Launching the programme, Miss Margo Thomas of the service, said the survey is an update of the investor road map study that was conducted by service in 1995.
She said the current survey will go a bit further to identifying specific regulations and procedures that impede business and investments in the country and help the government to initiate a process of reformation.
She pointed out that, the survey will focus on start-up operation, acquisition of business license, construction process, tax administration and immigration clearance among others. She said this will provide a benchmark against which subsequent improvement or deterioration of investment environment indicators may be measured.
She further indicated that it will develop a capacity to monitor the business environment to establish the basis for several internationally comparable indicators designed to effect changes as well as increase efficiency, effectiveness and accountability.
She stressed the need for respondents to give frank and forthright response to the questionnaire, stressing that this is necessary to provide a reliable and a credible result.
She assured them of the highest level of confidentiality and indicated that, the results of the survey will be the property of the World Bank.
According to Ms Thomas, Ghana is the sixth African country to benefit from the programme and indicated that the preliminary results will be ready in October, this year.
The Chief Executive of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, (GIPC), Mr Kofi Abeasi, said the research will help determine the difficulties encountered by investors in the country and design ways of dealing with these problems.
He said the service did a similar project in 1995 and this became the basis for changing the focus of the GIPC from a regulatory body to a facilitating agency.
On his part, Mr Gregory Kisunko of the World Bank said the survey will help establish an effective system of dialogue between the government and the business community.
Mr Alex Kwasi Bruks of Bruks and Associates, a local consultants to the programme, said 60 per cent of the respondents will be made up of foreign-owned companies while the remaining 40 per cent will comprise local companies.