The UK- Ghana Chamber of Commerce (UKGCC), a member-based trade association that promotes trade between the UK and Ghana, has released the 4th edition of its annual Ghana Business Environment and Competitive Survey Report for the year 2022.
Over 300 companies from 16 industries, ranging from small to large companies, participated in the survey.
The survey results indicate that most businesses perceive the business environment in 2022 has improved over 2021.
However, they continue to be held back by challenges such as corruption, Ghana’s taxation system, the price of land and power, and present additional economic obstacles.
Businesses continue to list the cost of gasoline as their highest operating expense; followed by cost of power, cost of machinery and cost of technology. These factors, it was indicated, strain their already limited financial resources.
These notwithstanding, businesses highlighted several factors positively affecting their performance in Ghana.
According to the respondents, hiring competent labour has been among the least expensive expenses their companies have ever had to deal with. Local marketing costs, certification and quality control charges, as well as cost of locally obtained raw materials are also perceived as being low.
These indicators have shown consistency in their ranking of lower costs of doing business in Ghana over prior year’s survey report.
To improve ease of doing business, respondents suggested several reforms.
Top of the list is safety and security of investment, followed by lower corruption and improved transparency. It was observed that for businesses to prosper over time, the government must support successful regulatory reform and guarantee a stable macroeconomic environment. Respondents were also of the view that improved bureaucracy and quicker approvals would promote ease of doing business.
Regarding readiness for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), sampled businesses believe that the development of appropriate quality standards, and the expansion of their capital base, are the two most important steps they need to take to increase their competitiveness and optimise the full benefits of the AfCFTA.
Anthony Pile MBE, UKGCC Executive Council Chairman, noted that “despite the current turbulent circumstances, there is an encouraging, yet cautious optimism for the future. It is, therefore, important for all business environment stakeholders, especially Government policy makers, and businesses to plan for the risks and uncertainties and build the resilience to withstand any unanticipated shocks in 2023”.
Commenting on the report, Vish Ashiagbor, Country Senior Partner of PwC, a UKGCC member company and consultants/advisors for the report, commended the government for improving perception of cost of land, availability of logistic partners, and access to land from the 2021 survey results.
He, however, bemoaned the worsening problem of corruption and its adverse impact on businesses.
“This year, majority of the respondents voted corruption to be the most worrisome business component despite government’s drive to kick out corruption. In as much as some improvements were recorded last year, the regulatory framework, availability of power and legal system have all declined.
In PwC Ghana’s view these setbacks are well within Government’s reach to improve, and should, therefore, remain high on the agendas of advocacy groups like business chambers, he added”.
Annual Business Climate Survey
The annual Business Climate Survey was first launched in 2019 and has been conducted every year since then.
The main purpose of the survey is to increase the understanding of opportunities and challenges that the Ghanaian market presents for UKGCC members and businesses generally, whether large or small, new or old, and across all sectors.
The survey provides a platform for businesses to provide key feedback on the health, confidence, intentions, and issues of businesses in Ghana and therefore, serves as the foundation for the UKGCC’s advocacy work.
The 2022 edition provides a comprehensive analysis of several important indications of the current business climate, as perceived by businesses, offering a data-driven look at the trends shaping the business landscape.