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Business News of Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Source: awakenewsonline.com

‘We’re very much on track’ in making Ghana Africa’s trade hub – Ahomka-Lindsay


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Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Robert Ahomka-Lindsay says government is on track in meeting its commitment of making Ghana the preferred hub for businesses in Africa.

To achieve this vision, he disclosed that government is working to create an enabling environment through a number of interventions including the introduction of seven reform strategies that will help regulate the Ghanaian market to make it friendly for both local and foreign investors.

Among these initiatives is the Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA).

The Deputy Trade Minister explained that the RIA is a technology tool that will ensure inclusiveness in the rulemaking process and bring ease in assessing the impact of an intended regulation prior to its enrolment.

He said, it will guarantee that only the right regulations are put in place as it engages the public and allows feedback from the various stakeholders.

Mr. Ahomka-Lindsay said, “Our President has made the point clear that he wants Ghana to be the preferred and most business-friendly destination in Africa. To do that there are a number of things we need to do. One aspect involves the regulations that we give businesses that operate in Ghana. After developing the regulations, there are number of activities we put in place to improve that so that we move from where we are to where we want to be. There are seven aspects of that, this is one of them.”

“It allows you to access the impact of any single regulation you want to put in place before you put it in place in a manner that is inclusive so we get many hearts of the nation involved in a manner that allows you to have the impact so that hopefully you don’t put the wrong regulations in place to hurt you,” he added.

He mentioned the Automobile Assembly Policy that was recently launched as one of the policies that government could have used the RIA structure during public consultation process.

The Automobile Assembly Policy was introduced to regulate the automobile industry ahead of the establishment of vehicle assembling plants in the country being championed by global automobile manufacturing companies, Volkswagen, Nissan, Sinotruk, Suzuki and Toyota.

The Minister disclosed that though there were a number of stakeholder engagements ahead of the announcement of the policy, it would have been less stressful if technology was used like in the case of the RIA which “allows us to reach right down using technology to reach every single 30 million Ghanaian”.

He touted the RIA as an important tool as that will help investors make the right choices in setting up their businesses in Ghana.

“There are various factors the business will put in place before they make a decision whether to put a plant here or whether to invest in Ghana. One of them, of course, is the market but another key aspect is that, how do you regulate and what are rules of the game? And are those rules likely to change overnight? Are they predictable? Are those rules based on best practices … Can I influence and give my opinion on those rules? So that is where the regulatory impact aspect comes in,” he stressed.

Robert Ahomka-Lindsay was speaking at the opening ceremony of a 2-day Stakeholders Sensitisation Forum on the Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) in Accra Wednesday, March 20, 2019.

About the RIA Forum

Managing Director of Jacobs, Cordova and Associates, international leaders in regulatory reforms described the RIA as one of the pillars of business regulatory reform strategies by the government.

According to Jorge L. Velazquez Roa, the forum is to educate stakeholders on their role in ensuring government makes better decisions in transforming the trade industry.

He said, Ghana is among the few African countries that have launched regulatory reform strategies to boost investor confidence, therefore, the RIA is a step in the right direction.

“RIA is not something that will come out from one day or the other. It takes time so it is the right moment to start socializing what is RIA to make people understand. It has to do with cultural of administrative procedure and it takes time to get embedded into the machinery of the government and also in the mind of stakeholders,” he explained.

He commended the government as he strongly believes the country has taken a giant step towards its agenda of becoming the first class business destination in Africa.

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