Ghanaï¿½s Consular General in Dubai, UAE, His Excellency Abudulai Yakubu, has underscored the need to have a more relaxed and humane arrangement at the countryï¿½s entry points so as not to drive away potential foreign investors.
According to him, with Ghana ascending to the forefront of an African economic lion, the country has increasingly become an investment destination for companies seeking to establish their presence in the sub-region.
He revealed that in his interactions with prospective investors, one of the major bottleneck faced by them, particular those from United Arab Emirates seeking to come to Ghana, was the issue of visa acquisition since their applications for entry permits into the country had to been done in Saudi Arabia.
The setting up of a Consulate in Dubai, he said, has helped in cutting down significantly the length of time it takes to acquire a visa to Ghana; 48 hours instead of the usual 3weeks.
ï¿½At least a number of them have complained about the process they go through at immigration before entering the countryï¿½Our presence here has helped in facilitating the visa issueï¿½they should to send their applications to Saudi Arabia for Visas, but since our arrival here it has been very easy for them. It could take up to three weeks before they are granted visasï¿½but now you only need 48hours to acquire a visa,ï¿½ he told Peacefmonline.com on the side-lines of the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) currently on-going in Dubai.
However, with the issue of obtaining visas having been dealt with, the major concern of these investors appears to be with bureaucratic and cumbersome security arrangements at entry points. He noted that with investors interest in the country growing exponentially, judging by the high number of visas (100) issued monthly, it is imperative that steps are taken to nib the problem in the bud so as to continue attracting and retaining foreign investors.
ï¿½ï¿½their (investors) major challenge is on arrival,ï¿½I think what we can do to assist, is streamline things at arrival points, because now that itï¿½s quite easy to acquire the visa, that challenge (has to be quickly dealt with)ï¿½When we started we used to issue 10-15 visas monthly but as of now, we are exceeding 100 visas; so it shows that the interest in Ghana is growingï¿½ we are expecting big things to happen between UAE and Ghanaï¿½The president (John Mahama) when he was vice-president, visited us twice hereï¿½we had elaborate discussions with himï¿½He has a fair idea of what it is like here but honestly, we havenï¿½t specifically told him about this peculiar problem (that investors go through) on arrival in Ghana,ï¿½ he added.
Source: From Nana Kwadwo Asante Agyemang/Dubai/UAE
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