Honorable Ministers present, the Acting Registrar General of Ghana, Distinguished CEOs of various Organizations, Members of the Media, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is an honor and a privilege to be at this launch of the Online Portal and E- certificate for Business Registration in Ghana. On behalf of our president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, let me join others to congratulate all those who worked tirelessly to support the Registrar- General’s Department.
Thanks also to those who continue to support the Registrar General Department as it carries out its mandate to achieve this remarkable improvement in our business registration process.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the launch of this e certificate today marks the culmination of a lot of hard work in the reform of its processes. The objective of these reforms is to put in place an appropriate Business Registration and Filing regime. Reforms are also intended to lead to
- a reduction in the time and cost of registering businesses,
- The provision of customer friendly business registration services and, finally
- putting measures in place for Business Registration and Filing services to be accessible to all businesses in and outside Ghana.
This means that anyone interested in starting a business in Ghana from a place like Bunkpurugu, Sefwi Wiawso or a country like Japan can do so from their computer in Japan. This is efficient and accessible. From wherever you are, if you have access to the internet, you can go online and register your business and receive your electronic certificate of incorporation within 2 days or more likely within one day.
At the same time you will also receive an electronic commencement certificate. Once the new Companies Act is passed, there will no longer be a requirement for a commencement certificate to start a business once you obtain the incorporation certificate. We will work with Parliament to ensure the speedy passage of the new Companies Act. Under the new online portal, you no longer need to come to the Registrar Generals office to queue to register a business. You can sit at home and get it done, including making payment online.
What we are witnessing today is the outcome of hard work of the Public – Private – Partnership (PPP) by the Government of Ghana with support from the World Bank with the aim of re-engineering the business processes of the Ghana Revenue Authority and the Registrar General’s Department.
Registration is the first step in the process of starting a business. Ten years ago, it took three months to conduct a search for a business name before registration could be initiated. Today a search can be conducted at the touch of a button. The impact of this singular act of change on commerce cannot be over-emphasized.
President Akufo-Addo’s vision is to make Ghana the most business friendly nation in Africa. That dream starts with the Registrar General’s Department. In line with this, I paid a surprise visit to the Registrar General’s department in March this year to find out where we are in pursuit of this vision.
People I spoke with during my visit complained about the length of the turnaround time. I therefore asked the Acting Registrar General to improve the turnaround time for business registration and speed up the process of going online with business registration. The online payment system was fixed after my visit in March. A new initiative was launched to make it possible for businesses to be registered within 2 days.
The initiative dubbed: “Three-year Business Regulatory Strategy,” is aimed at modernizing the quality of Ghana’s legal and regulatory systems to promote faster growth, job creation and economic prosperity. Prior to this initiative, obtaining a certificate to commence business could take about two weeks. Presently commencement certificates are issued simultaneously with incorporation certificates reducing the turnaround time for business registration.
I have asked the Acting Registrar General to work on automating the Registration of charges and with the new addressing system, we will link Metropolitan Assemblies to the Registrar General’s Department for the ease of obtaining a Business Operating permit.
We want to formalize the economy using the National ID Card (which was launched a few weeks ago), the National Digital Addressing System (which was launched yesterday) and financial inclusion. The impact of these three pillars on our economy will be transformational. With the registration of a businesses, the Addressing System will be used for the registration of citizens and non citizens living in Ghana by the National Identification Authority.
This will make it easy for the Registrar General’s Department to have ID numbers linked to traceable addresses for the ease of identifying the residential addresses of business owners and the location of their businesses. Financial inclusion with interoperability will bring more unbanked Ghanaians into the banking sector.
His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s administration has embraced this digital transformation and will lend his support to ensure the smooth operation of this process for improved customer satisfaction. The importance of ICT cannot be overstated in this 21st century and Ghana will leap frog to catch up whenever the opportunity arises.
I therefore urge staff and management of the Registrar General’s Department to intensify their stakeholder engagement programs through the use of all available channels, including print and social media to build consensus to enhance its revenue operations and boost revenue collection.
In addition, management should brainstorm and adopt other innovative revenue enhancing strategies to raise the level of compliance and transparency in the Ghanaian business registration system.
On this note, I wish to formally launch the E-Certificate and E-Payment on the online portal of the Registrar General’s department.