GHANA would have to do the simple things that will make it attractive to the investor community, Professor of Marketing and International Business with the Faculty of Business and Economics, Winnipeg University in Canada, Satyendra Singh has told Business Finder.
The cumbersome entry requirement processes, exorbitant visa application fees, poor transportation system to and from the airport and unduly high hotel rates among others are more than enough to serve as a disincentive to many who may be interested in coming to invest in Ghana, Prof Singh warned.
“What investments do you want me to bring when I cannot even enter your country; the taxi system here is not well regulated as drivers charge different rates, they refuse to go, and there is no number to call and complain ’ he lamented.
According to him, “if Ghana is genuinely open for business then it must remove all barriers that hinder the inflow of investments into the country,” he told this reporter.
Prof Singh who has been in Ghana for a month, at the instance of Regent University College of Science and Technology said “if you want to have economic activity, first of all you connect your airports to downtown by public bus so you don’t force everyone to take a taxi.”
He bemoaned what he described as unrealistic requirements by Ghana’s foreign missions prior to entry into Ghana.
Part of the information sought by Ghana’s mission in Canada requests visitors to Ghana to provide particulars two known contacts in Ghana including their email addresses.
Business Finder’s checks on the guidelines for an entry visa into Ghana from Canada confirmed that “full names, physical addresses (not postal addresses), email addresses and telephone numbers of two (2) references in Ghana should be stated on the form.”
They further demand that tourists provide an invitation letter from the Ghanaian host and a Ghana government issued Photo-ID.
“Non-Ghanaian host (s) should include copy of resident permit and bio-data page of passport; or proof of hotel reservation in Ghana covering the duration of stay in Ghana,” the guidelines demand.
Prof Singh was worried that many visitors may be unable to satisfy the requirements and would be compelled to rely on one travel agent or another which comes with some costs and could make room for corruption.
Ghana’s foremost investment agency, the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) has been upbeat about making Ghana the number one investment destination in Africa and the world.
Its Chief Executive Officer, Mr Reginald Yoofi Grant has been to the United States (USA), Mauritius, South Africa and this week been in the USA again assuring investors that “Ghana is open for business.”
Mr Grant has disclosed among other interventions that his outfit would spearhead the establishment Special Economic Zones in the country for foreign investors to operate under special terms and conditions.
But the likes of Prof Singh are pointing to some simple basic things that will help trigger sustainable investments in the country.
Ghana, he pointed out has several advantages, more than other countries in Africa.
Countries like Kenya, Burundi and South Sudan are not so lucky in terms of resources but they are really committed to opening up for trade and investment.
For those who are given to organizing worldwide conferences, one of such he is planning to hold in Ghana, set to pool several high profile business leaders, the requirements fly in the face of the open door policy of government.
The application fees for entry into Ghana are exorbitant and likely to become a disincentive to tourists and investors.
“I have to pay $200 as visa application fees; in Ghana the hotel rates are too expensive even though the food served is good; these must be looked at again,” Prof Singh stated.
Source: Isaac Aidoo || The Finder