A free trade zone is an economic area that covers a specific geographical area where goods are landed, manufactured, repackaged and exported under customs regulations regarding products from free trade zones. Goods from free trade zones are generally customs duty-free. Free trade zones usually cover areas close to seaports and international airports.
Also, according to Wikipedia, it is a geographic area where goods may be landed, stored, handled, manufactured or reconfigured and re-exported under specific customs regulation and generally not subject to customs duty.
Free zone companies in Ghana
An export-processing zone is a type of free trade zone that offers companies more liberal trading conditions and regulations to attract foreign investors and buyers. This generates employment and also earns foreign exchange for the country.
Ghana Free Zones Board
GFZB was established in 1995 by the free zone act of 1995 to enable the creation of free zones in the country to facilitate, monitor and regulate free zone activities and also promote economic activities. GFZB also assists and grant licenses to applicants, monitors the activities and performance of free zone developers. The board also ensures that developers comply with the free zone act and other laws relating to free trade zones.
What are the sectors investors can invest in under the free trade zone?
Investors can choose to invest in the following sectors under the free trade zone act
- Textile manufacturing
- Sea food processing
- Jewellery production
- Metal fabrication
- Agro food processing
- Cotton processing
- Information and communication technology
- Tiles manufacturing
- Assembly plants
Export processing zones in Ghana
- Tema Export processing zone which occupies 1,200 acres of land
- Sekondi export processing zone occupies 2,200 acres of land. It is designated for oil refinery and allied services.
- Shama free trade zone seated on 3,000 acres of land. It is designated as a multipurpose free trade zone.
- Ashanti free trade zone occupies 1090 acres of land. It is designated for the development of an ICT hub.
What are the requirements to become a free zone company?
- Register or incorporate your company in Ghana
- Obtain and fill the Ghana Free Trade Zone Board application form for US$100 and submit with the following documents
- Business plan for your proposed company
- A copy of the certificate of incorporation
- A copy of the certificate to commence business
- A copy of your company’s code
- Evidence(s) of ownership or lease of real property
- Memorandum of understanding with intended clients
- Evidence of funds availability/financial statement/capital transfer
- Any other relevant documents
- After submitting the application form, you will get a status notification on your application within 28 working days.
Where can a Free Zone Company be Located
A free zone company can be located in any of the EPZ mentioned above or any location approved by GFZB.
Free Zone Companies Licensed by GFZB
- Gold coast refinery: this company was initially registered as Euroget Gold Refinery Ghana limited in 2013 but was renamed Gold Coast Refinery in 2015 and inaugurated in 2016. It is the first state-of-the-art refinery in West Africa and 2nd in Africa. Some of their services include refining, assaying, marketing and sales, bullion custodian services, transportation of billions and capacity building.
- Juaben oil mills: This is a privately owned palm oil processing company in Ghana established in 1981. The company has about 1,450 hectares of oil palm plantation and it also processes 125 tons of PKO and 50 tons of palm oil on a daily basis. The company also uses wastes from oil palm processing to generate about 450 KVA of electricity.
- Regency resources limited: this company is a leading supplier of fertilizer and a major importer of caustic soda in West Africa. The company is in its advanced stage of developing a urea manufacturing plant using natural gas from the Jubilee field in Ghana. The company has developed associations with companies in Europe, North America, and South Africa to be able to identify, develop, design and execute projects making use of modern technology.
- Karma distillery Limited: This is a distillery in Ghana. Some of its products include Mambo bitters, Karma bitters, vintage brandy, and classic dry gin.
- Enviroplast Company Limited: this is a waste plastic recycling company founded in 1991 with the capacity to recycle about 2000 metric tons of waste plastic per month in high-quality plastic products.
- Atlantic life services: this is a leading IT-based company established in 1988.
- Melan print and packaging limited: this is a printing services company located in Accra, Ghana.
- Nurevas food Ghana Limited: this is a Swiss/Ghanaian food manufacturing company and marketer. Some of its products include nurevas Mayonnaise, Mustard, salad dressing, ketchup, tomato paste, and spiced sauces
- Bassi international Limited
- Ramec Limited
What are the Benefits free zone companies get?
- Exemption from payment of duties and levies on imports for production and exports from free trade zones
- Exemption from payment of tax on profits for 10 years after which tax on profit will not exceed 8%
- Relief from double taxation for investors and employees of countries Ghana has double taxation agreement with.
- Exemption from payment of withholding taxes from dividends arising from free zone investment
- No import license is required
- Not much customs disturbance
- Total ownership of a company’s share by the investor is allowed in free trade zones
- No restriction on repatriation of profits for foreign loan servicing, payment of fees or charges for technology transfer
- Permission to operate foreign currency accounts with Ghanaian banks
- Minimum export of 70% of goods manufactured in EPZ
- Investments are guaranteed against nationalization
What is the Cost of Getting a Ghana Free Zone License?
- Application form for US$ 100 or its equivalent in GHC
- Developer’s license fee of US$5,000 or its equivalent in GHC to be renewed yearly at a rate of US$4,000 for a developer
- Relevant Enterprise license of US$3,000 for manufacturing, US$4,000 for service, US$10,000 for commercial or its equivalent in GHC with yearly renewal fee of US$2,500 or GHC equivalent for manufacturing, US3,000 or equivalent for service, US$5,000 or GHC equivalent for commercial.
See more details on Doing Business in Ghana
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