Be pro-business: UK Prime Minister to Akufo-Addo
The incoming New Patriotic Party (NPP) must implement business-focused policies to develop the country’s economy, Adam Afriyie, the UK’s Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Ghana has urged.
Mr Afriyie holds the view that in order “to remain competitive, Ghana needs to return to a pro-business policy through efforts to reduce the time and costs of doing business”.
The Conservative Party Member of Parliament (MP) for the Windsor constituency in the UK admitted that a business friendly environment is a central concern for the President-elect who is conscious that Ghana’s peers in Sub-Saharan Africa are reforming faster and going further.
“Kenya, for example, improved its Doing Business ranking from 113 to 92 in the last year alone. Ghana faces competition from other countries, including in its own region, that have cottoned on to the importance of institutional reforms and cutting red tape - initiatives that allow businesses to thrive, create jobs and pay taxes.
“As the new government takes office I hope that, with UK support, it will focus on building the economic policy environment needed for business to flourish,” Mr Afriyie indicated in an article on Friday, January 6, 2017.
He said a lack of prioritisation or predictability in the business environment combined with “burdensome regulations reduce private investor confidence. And the impact of last minute changes in regulation, such as tax increments or investment registration fees introduced by government agencies, can be confusing and costly for business”.
He was hopeful that the UK can help strengthen the policy dialogue between the private sector and government – enabling a coordinated public-private effort to build the vision for reform, demand improvement and monitor implementation.
Mr Afriyie also suggested increased private sector participation and the deregulation of state-owned enterprises in key sectors to offer a real opportunity to improve efficiency and competition in essential services.
“It would be great to see Ghana rediscover its reforming zeal. In my role as Trade Envoy to Ghana, I am committed to regularly visiting Ghana in 2017, leading trade delegations, supporting UK businesses to win contracts through transparent and competitive tender processes with both public and private sector businesses in Ghana, networking to help businesses make new contacts, and promoting reforms so that businesses can invest and grow, backed by the British High Commission and the still new UK-Ghana Chamber of Commerce. By doing so, I know that the UK’s partnership with Ghana will go from strength to strength. And I am sure that by working together we can make prosperity a reality for all Ghanaians,” he added.
Mr Afriyie will represent the government of UK and Northern Ireland at the inauguration of President-elect Nana Akufo-Addo on January 6, 2017.
As part of his 5-day visit to Ghana, Mr Afriyie is expected to meet members of the incoming New Patriotic Party (NPP) government and also meet “members of the newly founded UK-Ghana Chamber of Commerce (UKGCC), leading businesses in Ghana, and infrastructure experts to discuss how the UK can support Ghana to achieve its infrastructure development goals”.
He will chair discussions focused on a deeper partnership centres on “UK expertise and Ghanaian capability”.
Ghana is currently the UK’s fourth largest export market in Sub-Saharan Africa with bilateral trade of goods and services totaling £1.082 billion in 2015.