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Opinions of Saturday, 15 September 2018

Columnist: Simon Bokor

Menzgold and the devil in Securities and Exchanges Commission

The bane of Ghana’s development is in the public sector- for one thing- the private sector is way, way ahead of it in terms of innovation, dynamism, commitment and results orientation. And typical, the public sector is in the business of referring to the law, law and more laws.

As to the effect of the laws on livelihood (which is the crux of the matter), officials cared less. Many innovative Ghanaian business women and men had to give up due to the frustration of public institutions - who believe more in a colonial militant approach- regardless of the benefits of the business to Ghanaians.

Today, it is the turn of a well-conceived and well-driving business like MENZGOLD to tango with some regulatory institution called SEC. In a fast-moving, competitive private market, has the regulatory institution cared to make a simple impact assessment of its decisions and actions on MENZGOLD? Trust me.

No! Have they simulated to see whether it will enhance MENZGOLD competitiveness? Once again, No! Why? It is not their job. That is what you will be told. Theirs is about compliance. So whether compliance will lead to more than 50, 000 people losing investment and jobs, they do not care.

And that is the problem - the monster of public institutions, created by our restrictive laws that do not create opportunities but kill potentials before they sprout. And we complain of no jobs? One business killed is more jobs killed. That, public institutions must know.

SEC should go beyond strict interpretation of laws and see how it can use its regulatory framework to guide rather than guard businesses especially, locally owned ones. It should adopt a more facilitating approach and remember that it is the contribution (tax) of entities like MENZGOLD that goes into paying their salary, maintaining their working conditions of service and the organization as a whole.

By the way, what prevents Ghana from assessing those institutions that deal directly with the private sector by the number of businesses they have nurtured, grown and enhanced? May be, it will make public institutions know that to conceive, establish and run a business is not a joke.