The Ghana Free Zones Authority is an export-orientated institution that incorporates both enclave and single-factory enterprise schemes. The Authority‘s aim is to promote economic development, regulate activities in the free zones and contribute to local employment opportunities.
The Authority was founded on August 31, 1995, by the Free Zone Act (Act 504). Since its inception, over 7,500 acres of land have been allocated and gazetted as Export Processing Zones in three regions. As a result, investors can set up their businesses anywhere in the country or in one of the four (4) Export Processing Zones (EPZs); Tema, Boankra, Shama, and Sekondi.
The Ghana Free Zones Programme is entirely private sector driven. The Government’s role is limited to facilitating, regulating, and monitoring the zones, developers, operators, and enterprise.
The Ghana Free Zones Authority was set up to provide a one-stop service centre for free zone investors. Some of the functions of the Authority include: assisting license applicants with the requisite information needed to secure approvals, permits and other facilities, examining agreements relating to the development of activities of the free zone, monitoring the activities and developments of Free Zone Developers and Enterprises and performing other functions as are incidental to the preceding.
GFZA offers extensive fiscal incentives to potential investors, these range from total exemption from payment of withholding taxes from dividends, arising out of free zone investments and relief from double taxation for foreign investors and employees in instances where Ghana has a double taxation agreement with the country of the investors or employees.
The Authority also offers non-fiscal incentives; no import licensing requirements, minimal customs formalities, and no conditions, or restrictions on repatriation of dividends or profit; payments for foreign loan servicing amongst others.
To enable the Authority to achieve its set objectives of increasing employment and diversifying the country’s export base, the forthcoming sectors have been identified as priority areas for investment.
These include oil and gas, agro-food processing, textile/apparel manufacturing, information and communication technology, pharmaceuticals and jewellery production. This is because Ghana has a comparative advantage in these areas, and Ghana Free Zones Authority is capitalizing on this advantage to attract investment into the country.
The Authority does not enforce a minimum capital investment, however, investors must indicate their ability to fulfil the minimum 70% export requirement. Existing companies who wish to join the Ghana Free Zones are required to submit the following: Company’s Audited Accounts for three years, SSNIT Clearance Certificate, Tax Clearance Certificate and evidence to increase employment.
The Authority is unique in concept and operation. A core value beyond the concessions is the freedom given to investors to set up their businesses in any part of the country and still qualify for all reliefs. The Authority warmly invites all qualifying firms to solicit our services, as the GFZA the primary objective is to give more to investors to achieve more.