The US Ambassador to Ghana, Robert Jackson, has cited the high cost of air travel and the undue delays in visa acquisition as two major challenges to investments to Ghana.
According to him, the development has compelled most investors to divert attention to other countries within the sub-region as businesses are more endeared to ease of doing business.
The US Ambassador made the observation when he paid a courtesy call at the Ministry of Business Development on Thursday.
“Among the things that hold the US investors back include the travel cost; Ghana’s aviation is very expensive. Secondly we see that the speed with which the Ghanaian embassy in the United States processes visas is about three weeks. We have our own visa issues but we process our visas within 48 hours. I do not know what process occurs in the Ghana’s Embassies across overseas but I know that the offices in Europe are far faster than the Embassies in Washington,” he said.
“…If you want more visitors and businesses to come to Ghana, then making it easier to get visas will help with that,” he added.
Ghana’s trade volume with the US is estimated at 1.2 billion dollars.
The US contributed to about 900 million dollars with Ghana accounting for the remaining 300 million dollars.
But the high cost of doing business has constrained businesses with plans to invest in Ghana.
The development also contributed to Ghana’s ranking in the latest ease of doing business by the World Bank.
The country’s 108th position has been considered uncompetitive hence the need to revise procedures to ease the registration procedure for businesses.
Ambassador Jackson also believes interventions to reduce the high cost of doing business should improve Ghana’s bilateral trade with the US.
In a related development, the sector Minister, Mohammed Ibrahim Awal has reiterated his outfit’s resolve to reduce the bureaucracies in registering businesses in a bid to attract huge investors to Ghana.
He was speaking when officials of the US Chamber of Commerce met him to discuss ways of improving the environment to attract more American businesses to Ghana.
“We want to build our young to become not only job seekers but job owners; it is only through that that we can expand jobs and reduce the teeming unemployment rate. We want to get to the level where we can create internship opportunities to our young men and women,” Mr. Awal stated.
He further remarked that, “This Ministry is purposely to ensure that the obstacles to doing businesses are removed and we want to count on you…no bribes will be tolerated; you can always rely on us for the support that you require.”
By: Pius Amihere Eduku/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana