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IMANI’s Impact on Doing Business Reforms in Ghana

Over the years, IMANI Center for Policy and Education has advocated for reforms to Ghana’s business environment to make it more attractive and competitive. For example, from 2015-2017, IMANI, with the support of Atlas Network and as part of their Leveraging Indices for Free Enterprise Policy Reform Project, undertook the Ghana Free Enterprise Campaign.

The objectives of the project were to propose policies to make starting a business and paying taxes easier for entrepreneurs.

The gains from this intervention informed our strategy in 2018 where we focused our advocacy work on trade reforms, taxes and the way contracts are enforced.
Suffice to mention that these interventions have contributed largely to the current business environment reforms proposed by the Ghana government for 2019, geared towards easing the process of doing business.

The table below provides a summary of the results and recommendations of IMANI, which informed our advocacy strategy and the proposition currently proffered by the Government of Ghana. The support of ATLAS in achieving these results for Ghana is tremendous, and we look forward to further engagements in other areas to ensure that economic freedom is advanced through enterprise development.


Government’s Proposed Reform IMANI’s Input and Recommendation Expected Impact
1. For companies applying to register without a TIN number, the TIN number will now be generated automatically online at the point of application In December 2017, IMANI organised a business reform summit based on its Ghana Free Enterprise Campaign. During the forum, IMANI demonstrated the frustration that entrepreneurs go through to register businesses online. IMANI found that one stumbling block was the registration of TIN, which had to be done in person and would add to the time taken to register a business.
We recommended fixing the online TIN registration portal to randomly generate numbers instead of the paper application.“It should be randomly generated then you can verify at the point of you needing a service”
This will lead to less time taken to start a business and speed up the formalisation process.
2.  Launch of a mobile app and an online platform for the ease of filing tax returns; Individuals will be able to file their taxes online by April 2019  

In 2016, IMANI wrote an open letter to the government, stating ‘7 steps Needed to Significantly Reform Ghana’s ruining Business Environment Now’.
One recommendation from IMANI was  the need for an ‘introduction of a technology-empowered tax administration system that facilitates the electronic filing of tax returns’
Available at: 7 Steps Needed to Significantly Reform Ghana’s Ruining Business Environment Now – IMANI

By implementing an e-filing system, the procedures and time required to file tax returns will be reduced, thus encourage timely filing of taxes by businesses. 

3.  Implementation of an electronic justice system that allows the automated serving of court process with speed and ease


In 2019, IMANI published a series of 3 articles on how reforms in the way Ghana enforces contracts would make the business environment more attractive to entrepreneurs. In Part 3 of the series, IMANI recommended “Mobilising funding for the long-term e-justice project, automating courts and training staff”.
Available at: IMANI Study: How to Attract More Entrepreneurs to Ghana – Part 3 of 3 – Quality of Judicial Processes



This will benefit entrepreneurs by reducing the time taken to enforce contracts, as well as improving the quality of the commercial courts.

5. Merger of all four starting-a-business application forms: TIN application, SNNIT application, Business Operating Permit application and Business Registration forms Since 2015, IMANI has been advocating for a one-stop shop to enable businesses to be registered faster and easier. We envisioned a place where entrepreneurs ‘can present their required documents to be dispersed to the other avenues’. By merging these forms, the objective of easier and faster registration will be achieved.
Available at: IMANI – Better Ideas for Improving Business Environment in GhanaAlso, as part of the Ghana Free Enterprise Campaign, IMANI interviewed entrepreneurs and found that one thing restricting them from formalising their business was the complexity of the forms. We recommended simpler forms and more education on how to fill them out.
Available at: IMANI – ATLAS Free Enterprise Campaign: Is Ghana Ready for Business?

Streamlining procedures will lead to more collaboration among government agencies, thereby reducing duplications in systems and resulting in cost savings.

It will also lead to less time taken to register a business and will encourage entrepreneurs to formalise.

9. Reduction in physical examination of containers through the use of risk engine  

In 2018, as part of an ongoing project aimed at analysing the efficiency of trade facilitation efforts, based on data on the risk management system at the ports, IMANI recommended ‘Effective use of data on risk management for more thorough analysis, in order to save time and effort on unnecessarily physical inspection’
Available at: IMANI – Requesting Parliamentary Enquiry into UniPass Contract to Prevent Disruption to Ghana’s Progress on Trade Facilitation

Time and effort will be saved by the reduction of physical examinations, allowing for the freer flow of trade


Reform 1 – TIN registration portal

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Reform 2: Launch of a mobile app and an online platform foe the ease of filing returns

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Reform 3: Implementation of an electronic justice system that allows the automated serving of court process with speed and ease

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Reform 5(A): Merger of all four starting-a-business application forms

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Reform 5(B): Merger of all four starting-a-business application forms.

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Reform 9: Reduction in physical examination of containers through the use of risk engine.

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