Launch of the BEEP

01-02-2019

Launch of the BEEP

Last Tuesday the 29th of January, the Business Enabling Environment Programme (BEEP) Accountability and Advocacy Project was launched at the Golden Tulip Hotel. The BEEP was launched by DFID in 2015 and its aim was to support targeted institutions within the Government of Ghana to enact reforms, build the evidence base for reforms through independent analysis and research as well as support Public-Private Dialogue to enhance the demand for and effectiveness of reforms.

As such, the BEEP focuses on four regulatory areas: commercial justice and contract enforcement; improving taxpayer services; reducing the cost of business licensing fees and construction permits, as well as public-private sector policy facility.

The specific intervention to be assessed under these four broad focus areas are:

  1. Commercial Courts – assessment of small claims procedures and pre-trial conference;
  2. Customs: assessment of the new paperless system of clearing imports at Ghana’s Ports in Tema and Takoradi;
  3. Tax-assessment of the effectiveness of the Integrated Processing System (TRIPS) in tax admin in Ghana; and
  4. Business registration – assessment of business registration process for business start-ups

During the launch for which GNBCC was invited by the Private Enterprise Foundation (one of the partners in BEEP) a welcome address was given by  Nana Osei-Bonsu, the CEO of the PEF.  He held a speech indicating all problems in for instance the registering and licensing of your business in Ghana which creates a lot of problems for SME’s.  PEF pushes and demands reforms together with its partners ISSER (Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research) and the IEA (Institute of Economic Affairs).

The Head of ISSER told the audience that it still takes a long time when you go to the tax office to pay your taxes. You are not helped in a fast and efficient way. The senior IEA fellow talked about the fact that if business registration is easy it increases the number of business which is good for the economy. Hence the creation of an e-platform. At present when you go to the Registrar General there are still long queues because the online system is not fully operational and you still have to return to sign. There is still no full E-registration and it’s not accepted everywhere. Also, the E-payment has issues (takes a long time to reflect). Also, the AMA is not part of the E-platform (problems with your operating permit). In short, the problems were:

  • Change is difficult (institutional change management; trying to change the staff how they operate; staff has to see what the impact is)
  • The public is not aware that some changes that have been implemented
  • A lot of the systems are not fully functional

Other countries outside Ghana are reforming much faster hence Ghana is not improving its position at the World Bank listing of the Ease of Doing Business

Robert Ahomka Lindsay representing the Government repeated the intentions of this government to become the best and reminded the audience that Ghana used to be much better but because the building blocks are not in order we keep slipping. The building blocks are:

  • Ghana Identification System
  • Business Registration System and
  • Digital Address System

They are not yet functioning and hence it affects efficiency. He also mentioned that land registration is still not digitalized (which is important for Banks if they have to consider you for a loan). The government has to commit to the SME and capture more informal business (which makes them formal)=> hence we need to formalize the economy. If these building blocks are not properly organized we will always stumble back every time trying.

For more info: tjalling@gnbcc.net

 

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