Togo is not affected by the irregularities reported in the Doing Business index - Sandra Johnson

Economic governance
Tuesday, 01 September 2020 16:50
Togo is not affected by the irregularities reported in the Doing Business index - Sandra Johnson

(Togo First) - In this exclusive interview with Togo First, Sandra Ablamba Johnson, Minister Delegate, Advisor to the President of the Republic in charge of Improving the Business Climate, discusses the latest developments in the World Bank’s Doing Business report. This is among others in response to various concerns and claims sparked by the recent suspension of the index.  

Togo First: The World Bank announced on August 27th the suspension of the publication of the DB 2021 report due to irregularities in the data of the Doing Business 2018 and 2020 reports. For various reasons, this press release has spurred heated debates online...

Sandra A. JOHNSON: Indeed, we were informed on August 27 of a press release issued by the World Bank regarding the suspension of the publication of the DB 2021 report.

However, this is mainly about an audit of the report’s methodology - a natural process that should be positive, since it should enable a better assessment of changes that occurred in recent years and those expected this year, if not within the next few months. I would like to emphasize that this is a suspension and not a definitive halt to the process.

Under its approach, the Bank has the opportunity to refine its methodology. Hence this evaluation will certainly come with recommendations that will enable necessary amendments to the current system and improve future publications.

Of course, passionate debates should not dominate the rational, nor should they distract us. We must stay the course that will boost the influence of our nation, Togo.

Regardless of the assessments, the most important thing remains the contribution of the reforms carried out for the benefit of private sector actors and the Togolese people. The latter currently benefit from them and testify to the significant advantages brought by the improvements in this area.

Togo First: Do you know the reasons underlying this suspension? What will be its impact generally, and what about Togo?

Sandra A. JOHNSON: I would be more tempted to say what concerns us (laughs).

Of course, the Bank has clearly explained in its statement the fundamental reasons for the suspension. 

This is where I will stress that Togo is not affected by the matter raised. The list of countries concerned is available on the official website of the World Bank, which is accessible to the public.  

I would also like to remind you that this is the first time in its 17 years of existence that the publication of the Doing Business report has been suspended. Over the years, this study had become a reference tool for investors around the world, but also an object of criticism enabling countries to improve their business climate. 

In this regard, Togo, like other countries in the subregion, notably Mauritius and Rwanda, respectively 13th and 38th in the 2020 edition, is exemplary.

Togo First: Will this suspension affect reform implementation in Togo?

Sandra A. JOHNSON: Absolutely not... 

For our part, we are going to continue implementing the reforms, as they are among the factors ensuring the success of our National Development Plan (NDP).

Togo First: Any last comments? 

Sandra A. JOHNSON: Once again, I would like to sincerely thank all stakeholders, especially key agents of the public administration and private sector actors, for their unfailing commitment to the common cause.

In any case, the fire that has already been lit must be sustained in the interest of our people, who are the real beneficiaries of these reforms. 

The most telling impact of the changes in reforms is the reduction of registration fees for full land transfers, from 4% of the value of the land (which can amount to millions of CFA at times) to only 35,000 FCFA. This measure is extended to legacies and donations since those are not for business purposes but benefit families more. Our goal is not to do well in the Doing Business but mostly help households to improve their income.

Again, we must focus on what is most important and that is to make our country the best place to live and also the easiest place to do business.

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