Ghana Free Zones Board Corporate Profile

ESTABLISHMENT

The Ghana Free Zones Board (GFZB) was established on 31 st August, 1995 by an Act of Parliament ?the Free Zone Act, 1995 (Act 504) - to enable the establishment of free zones in Ghana for the promotion of economic development; to provide for the regulation of activities in free zones and for related purposes. The implementation of the Programme actually commenced in September 1996.

It has nine members who are appointed by the President in consultation with the Council of State. The Minister for Trade, Industry, Private Sector Development and Presidential Special Initiatives (PSI) chairs the Board.

CONCEPT

The Ghana Free Zones Programme is designed to promote processing and manufacturing of goods through the establishment of Export Processing Zones (EPZs), and encourage the development of commercial and service activities at sea and airport areas. In essence therefore, the whole of Ghana is accessible to potential investors who have the opportunity to use the Free Zones as focal points to produce goods and services for foreign markets.

FUNCTIONS OF THE BOARD

The Ghana Free Zones Board is to provide a one-stop service center for Free Zone investors. The Board's main role is to facilitate, regulate and monitor activities in the Free Zones.

Other functions of the Board are:

  Grant licenses to applicants;

  Assist applicants for licenses under Act 504 by providing services for obtaining other relevant licenses, permits and facilities;

  Examine and recommend for approval, agreements and treaties relating to the development activities of the Free Zones;

  Monitor the activities, performance and development of Free Zone Developers and Enterprises;

  Ensure compliance by Free Zone Developer and Enterprises of the Free Zone Act and any other laws relevant to free activities;

  Register and keep records and data on the programme of developers, operators and enterprises in free zones;

  Perform such other functions as are incidental to the foregoing.

SECRETARIAT OF THE BOARD

The Board has a Secretariat, which is responsible for the day-to-day administration and implementation of Board's resolutions.

The Secretariat has at its head an Executive Secretary who coordinates activities of the Secretariat and reports to the Board. He is assisted by two Deputy Executive Secretaries and other Functional supervisors.

The current structure establishes four (4) main divisions, namely:

  1. Marketing, Promotion and Monitoring
  2. Technical services & Operations
  3. Legal & Administration
  4. Finance

THE SERVICES PROVIDED BY THE GFZB SECRETARIAT INCLUDE:

  • Providing information on investment opportunities in the free zone
  • Issuing licenses to approved free zone enterprises
  • Assisting in securing other permits from related agencies
  • Providing ready facilities i.e. serviced land and utilities at the Export Processing Zones
  • Obtaining work/residence permits for expatriates in the free zone
  • Providing any other services requested by investors

MISSION STATEMENT

The Mission of the Board is to help transform Ghana into the Gateway to West Africa by creating an attractive and conducive business environment through the provision of competitive free zone incentives and operation of an efficient ne-stop-shop?for the promotion and enhancement of domestic and foreign investment.

OBJECTIVES

The main objective of the Programme is the promotion of economic development through:

  Attraction of Foreign Direct Investments;

  Creation of employment opportunities;

  Increasing foreign exchange earnings;

  Provision of business opportunities for foreign and local investors to undertake joint venture;

  Enhancement of technical and managerial skills/expertise of Ghanaians;

  Promotion of the transfer of Technology and diversification of exports.

PRIORITY SECTORS

The following priority sectors have been identified by the Board based on the comparative advantages of the country. These sectors are however not exclusive. Investors can invest in any other sector of their choice.

  • Agro Food Processing
  • Cotton Processing
  • Textile Manufacturing
  • Ethnic Beauty Products
  • Sea Food Processing
  • Jewellery/Handicraft Production
  • Light Industry/Assembling Plant
  • Plastic Products Manufacturing
  • Metal Fabrication
  • Ceramic Tile Manufacturing
  • Floriculture
  • Information & Communication Technology

INCENTIVES

The extensive and generous incentives, packaged in the Free Zone Act (1995), for investors interested in developing and operating free zone enclaves and single-factory free zones in Ghana include:

  100% exemption from payment of direct and indirect duties and levies on all imports for production and exports from free Zones;

  100% exemption from payment of income tax on profits for 10 years and shall not exceed 8 percent thereafter;

  Total exemption from payment of withholding taxes from dividends arising out of free zone investments;

  Relief from double taxation for foreign investors and employees;

  No import licensing requirements;

  Minimal customs formalities;

  100% ownership of shares by any investor ?foreign or national ?in a free zone enterprise is allowed;

  There are no conditions or restrictions on: repatriation of dividends or note profit; payments for foreign loan servicing; payments of fees and charges for technology transfer agreements; and remittance of proceeds from sale of any interest in a free zone investment;

  Free Zone investors are permitted to operate foreign currency accounts with banks in Ghana ;

  At least 70% of annual production of goods and services of Free Zone Enterprises must be exported; consequently up to 30% of annual production of goods and services of a free zone enterprise are authorised for sale in the local market

  Free Zone investments are guaranteed against nationalisation and expropriation.

ACHIEVEMENTS

The achievements of the Board as at the end of 2004 are:

  • 144 Companies licensed -
  • Production - US $634.5M
  • Exports - US $627.4M
  • Employment - 9,828
  • Capital Invested (1997-2004) - US$ 738.5M

DEVELOPMENT OF EXPORT PROCESSING ZONES

Four Export Processing Zones (EPZs) have currently been designated. These are:

  Tema Export Processing Zone (EPZ) 1,200 acres

Designated as a multipurpose EPZ with a Textile and Garment Village

  Sekondi EPZ 2,200 acres

Designated for oil refinery and allied services.

  Shama EPZ 3,000 acres

Designated as a multipurpose EPZ

  Ashanti EPZ 1,090 acres

Designated for the development of an ICT park

CONTACT

The Executive Secretary
Ghana Free Zones Board
P. O. Box M 626
Accra , Ghana
TEL : +233 21 780535/ 785037/785038
FAX : +233 21 780536/ 780537
EMAIL : gfzbes@ghanatel.com , info@gfzb.com
WEBSITE : www.gfzb.com