Help for small and medium businesses: What Prez Mahama must do

Actors in the private business sector began spelling out things the NDC government should do for them, after President Mahama pledged support for the sector, during his inaugural address on January 7.

For instance, a former president of the Ghana Real Estate Developers Association, Dr Alexander Tweneboa, is reported to have said recently, that rapid socio-economic development would manifest, only when government listened, understood, and acted on the challenges of the private sector.

To help the sector, the Doing Business Report is extremely essential to guide the kinds of interventions the President Mahama administration should formulate and implement. The report is an annual publication of the World Bank Group, of elaborate studies that measure the cost to firms of business regulations in economies of the world.

Every year since 2003, the Doing Business Report presents detailed analysis of costs, requirements and procedures a private domestic small or medium-size company is subject to in each of all countries, and then, assigns rankings for every country; It also places in the spotlight, countries and leaders that are promoting reforms.

The Doing Business 2013 report covers 10 critical indicators of business regulation, such as starting a business, ease of getting credit, dealing with construction permits and getting electricity. Others are enforcing contracts, trading across borders and resolving insolvency.

In that report, Ghana’s ranking on key indicators show there’s lots of work to do, and it shows, I believe, where the president should focus his energy. Our country is one of the most difficult places to start a business, ranking 112 out of 185.

Also at the rank of 162, Ghana is among the worst places on earth for a small or a medium business when dealing with construction permits. The permit process has 16 procedures that can take as many as 218 days to obtain a permit. It takes 99 days in Hong Kong.

Ghana’s best performance is in getting credit, at a rank of 23. We are doing well in protecting investors, enforcing contracts and registering a property. Overall, Ghana ranks 64 out of 185 economies on the scale of ease of doing business.

By working to improve the indices, we shall in effect be improving the business environment for our entrepreneurs and enhancing Ghana’s profile as an attractive investment destination.

The best efforts of the president and his economic management team to support Ghana’s small and indigenous business should start with the Doing Business Report.

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