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Ghana has moved four places down on the Trading Across Borders in the latest World Bank Ease of Doing Business Report, an indication that the country introduced less reforms across its trade borders.
The Doing Business 2018 Report, titled “Reforming to Create Jobs”, released last week showed that Ghana placed 120th out of 190 countries surveyed in the overall ranking of Ease of Doing Business, a drop from 108 in the previous report.
Also in the sub-Saharan Africa sub-region, Ghana was not part of the top 10, coming 11th out of the 47 countries ranked in the region. This is evidence that the government implemented less reforms in the period under review to ensure the ease of doing business in Ghana.
The top 10 countries in the region are Mauritius, Rwanda, South Africa, Botswana, Kenya, Seychelles, Zambia, Lesotho, Namibia and Malawi.
In the “Trading Across Borders” indicator, one of the 10 indicators measured, Ghana improved by four places, coming in at 158 from a previous ranking of 154.
This indicator showed that the country recorded a decline in most of the indicators in the Ease of Doing Business reforms.
The “Trading Across Borders” rankings measure the time and cost (excluding tariffs) associated with three sets of procedures: documentary compliance, border compliance and domestic transport; within the overall process of exporting or importing a shipment of goods.
Since the data for the report was benchmarked to June 2017, most of the reforms introduced in September this year did not feature in the report.
The government in September this year rolled out a three-major policy initiative to help make Ghana’s ports very competitive in the sub-region.
One of such policy initiatives was the removal of all customs road barriers in the country and personnel deployed elsewhere. The others are mandatory joint inspection of goods at the ports by GCNET and West Blue Consulting and the ports going paperless.
However, the annual report acknowledged previous reforms made by the country to help improve the ease of doing business.
“In 2016, Ghana made trading across borders easier by removing the mandatory pre-arrival assessment inspection at origin for imported products,” the report stated.
According to the report, “Ghana is among the economies that heavily invested in electronic systems to facilitate trade. In September 2015, it implemented the first phase of its national single window and ended the contract with Destination Inspection Companies for its Pre-Arrival Assessment programme.”
Customs classification report
The certificate of valuation report, which previously was issued by Destination Inspection Companies after a documentary inspection, is no longer required to import goods into Ghana. Instead, the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority now processes the Customs Classification and Valuation Report (CCVR) through the Pre-Arrival Assessment Reporting System (PPARS), a component of the single window.
“Through the PPARS system, customs brokers and freight forwarders can submit an application form online, attaching scanned supporting documents, and upon assessment by a customs official, the CCVR is approved electronically. Because imported products are no longer subject to documentary inspection at origin, documentary compliance time for imports decreased by 206 hours in 2016,” it reported.
This, however, shows that the country needs strong collaboration between all stakeholders and the much-needed political and government support right from the top to help improve future ranking.
The Ease of Doing Business Index ranks economies from one to 190. For each economy, the ranking is calculated as the simple average of the percentile rankings on each of the 11 topics included in the index in Doing Business 2018.
The topics were starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, resolving insolvency and labour market.
The World Bank Group’s annual Ease of Doing Business Report observed that sub-Saharan Africa economies had the widest variation in performance among the areas measured by Doing Business, with Mauritius standing at 25 in the ranking and Somalia at 190.
Although good regulatory practices can be found around the world, they are most common in high-income economies and the economies of Europe and Central Asia.
South Asia is the only region not represented in the top 50 ranking for Ease of Doing Business. However, India stands out this year as one of the 10 economies that improved the most in the areas measured by Ease of Doing Business.