Govt urged to create enabling framework for business in Ghana

BY: Nana Konadu Agyeman
Prof Justice Samuel Kofi Date-Bah addressing the participants in the University of Ghana annual law lectures. Picture: Maxwell Ocloo
Prof Justice Samuel Kofi Date-Bah addressing the participants in the University of Ghana annual law lectures. Picture: Maxwell Ocloo

A retired Supreme Court judge, Professor Justice Samuel Date-Bah, has called on the government to be proactive in fashioning policies, statutes and administrative measures to facilitate and regulate the doing of business in Ghana.

He said business law could not remain static but must be dynamic to create an enabling framework within which enterprises could thrive and produce goods and services needed by society.

He further called for periodic legislative interventions from the government to make business law what he described as "fit for purpose."
"If the government takes its eyes off the ball, it can result in aspects of business law impeding investment, production and trading to the detriment of society," he stated.

Lecture

Prof.  Justice Date-Bah stated this at the annual law lecture organised by the University of Ghana (UG) School of Law in Accra last Monday.

He spoke on the topic "Reflection on the evolution of business law in Ghana since independence."

The event was preceded by a remembrance ceremony in honour of the late Prof. Gordon Woodman, a former law lecturer of the UG School of Law, who passed away on October 24, 2017.

Business law must be dynamic

Prof.  Justice Date-Bah said it was clear that the reforms in contract law and company law, carried out by the government in the early years of Ghana's independence, had laid a solid foundation for the development of business law in the country.

He, however, said business law had to continue to evolve in response to changing circumstances in the country.

"The government has to monitor the business environment and provide the right regulatory environment.

This implies both proactive and reactive action by the government.

"Consequently, administrative law, criminal law and regulatory interventions by the government have played and will increasingly play a role in business law," he said.

Protect privacy

Touching on personal data, Prof. Justice Date-Bah said personal data of customers was of increasing importance in business worldwide.

 However,  the swirling of data around the world, which had been enriching various stakeholders and contributing to economic growth, should not be at the expense of the privacy of individuals.

"A fair balance has to be struck between the needs of government and business and the human right of individuals to protect their privacy," he said.

He pointed out that the government, recognising such need for balance, enacted  the Data Protection Act 2012, for the protection of personal data.

"Businesses that rely on personal data can count on the goodwill of trusting customers, if the customers are confident that the privacy of their personal data has been protected in compliance with the standards laid down in the Data Protection Act.

"Equally, the government will have the trust of its citizens if they are assured that their privacy will be protected and their personal data accessed only in carefully defined exceptional cases, in the public interest, with the limits set expressly or impliedly in the Constitution and the Data Protection Act," he said.

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