By Bubu Klinogo.
The first ever Regional Entrepreneurship Freedom – REF Index has shown that the Eastern Region is the only region moderately free for entrepreneurship in Ghana.
On a scale of 1 to 10, the region scored 6.36 to top the regional ranking. The first ever Regional Entrepreneurship Freedom Index was released by the Africa Center for Entrepreneurship and Youth Empowerment (ACEYE) after extensive surveys conducted in all the 16 regions of Ghana.
On the indicators’ basis, the Eastern Region scored highest in labour freedom and emerged as averagely free in terms of trade freedom.
Ashanti, North East and Upper West Regions, the report described as mostly unfree in entrepreneurial freedom as they scored 5.50, 5.25 and 5.24 respectively ranking 2nd, 3rd and 4th below Eastern Region.
The remaining 12 regions were all described as repressed as they scored below 5 on the 1 to 10 scale. This implies that the bottlenecks experienced by entrepreneurs in the regions as far as the indicators used in the survey are concerned can be described as growth and development inhibitive to businesses of entrepreneurs.
Greater Accra Region, which has the national capital and the Center of business in the country was ranked 10th in the report and categorized as repressed on the Regional Entrepreneurship Freedom (REF) Index.
The Chief Executive of the Africa Center for Entrepreneurship and Youth Empowerment, Emmanuel Acquah explained that the criteria used in assessing the regions include Trade, fiscal, investment, labour, property rights, financial and regulatory freedoms.
‘’Government initiatives for promoting entrepreneurship over the periods have not yielded the desired results’’.
He suggested some measures that can be adopted to ensure the freedom of entrepreneurs within the regions that fall below the red line.
Some of these are standardization of licensing and regulatory requirements and constant education of entrepreneurs on them, elimination of piracy and black market, redeveloping the private sector with taxes collected by government, lowering of rate interests for these regions and provision of incentives by government to attract investors.
According to Mr. Acquah, instead of the government focusing on individuals to do business, the government could consider creating the enabling environment for the people to generate their own incomes.
Serlom Branttie of IMANI Africa and Ebenezer Sai-Tackie Teflodon of Conservative Policy Research Centre-CPRC were Keynote Speakers at the launch of the REF Index Report.