How to Import Goods into Ghana 2023

Do you know that Importing goods can open up lucrative opportunities for businesses in Ghana. In this comprehensive article, we will walk you through the process of importing goods into Ghana, from research and planning to customs clearance and financing.

If you are an established business or a budding entrepreneur, this article will provide invaluable insights and practical tips to help you navigate the importation journey.

Importing goods into Ghana offers various advantages to businesses, allowing them to meet customer demands, stay competitive, expand their market reach, reduce costs, and access technological advancements. It is essential for businesses to understand the importation process, comply with regulations, and conduct proper research and planning to maximize the benefits of importing goods. Carefully go through this article to learn more about how to import goods into Ghana alongside with it frequently asked questions.

What are Goods importations into Ghana

Goods importation in Ghana refers to the process of bringing goods from foreign countries into Ghana for commercial purposes. This can include a wide range of products, such as raw materials, finished goods, machinery, equipment, and consumer goods. Importing goods allows businesses in Ghana to access a wider variety of products, meet market demand, and expand their operations. However, it is important to adhere to import regulations, obtain the required documentation, and comply with customs procedures to ensure a smooth and legal importation process.

Ghana Import Regulation

Import regulations play a crucial role in governing the importation of goods into Ghana. Adhering to these regulations is essential to ensure a smooth and legal importation process. Here are some key points to consider regarding Ghana’s import regulations:

  • 1. Legal Requirements: 

Importers must comply with the laws and regulations set by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and other relevant government agencies. It is important to be aware of the specific laws governing the importation of various goods, as different products may have different requirements.

  • 2. Import Documentation: 

Importers are required to provide specific documentation for customs clearance. These documents may include a commercial invoice, packing list, bill of lading/airway bill, import declaration form, and any applicable permits or licenses. Proper documentation is essential to demonstrate the nature, value, and origin of the imported goods.

  • 3. Prohibited and Restricted Goods:

Ghana has a list of goods that are prohibited or subject to restrictions. It is crucial to check the list of prohibited items to ensure that the goods you intend to import do not fall into this category. Restricted goods may require additional permits or licenses for importation.

  • 4. Import Duties and Taxes:

Importers are responsible for paying customs duties, taxes, and fees on imported goods. The customs duties and taxes are typically calculated based on the value, nature, and classification of the imported goods. It is important to understand the tariff classification and rates applicable to your goods to calculate the expected costs accurately.

  • 5. Import Clearance Procedures:

Importers must go through the customs clearance process to get their goods released. This involves submitting the required documentation, paying the duties and taxes, and complying with any inspections or examinations conducted by customs officials.

  • 6. Trade Agreements:

 Ghana has entered into various trade agreements with other countries and regional blocs. These agreements may offer certain benefits, such as reduced import duties or preferential treatment for goods originating from partner countries. Importers should explore these trade agreements and determine if they can leverage any benefits.

  • 7. Compliance with Standards and Regulations: 

Imported goods must comply with Ghana’s standards and regulations pertaining to health, safety, quality, and environmental requirements. It is essential to ensure that imported goods meet the necessary standards and obtain the required certifications.

It is recommended that importers consult with a customs clearing agent or freight forwarder who is knowledgeable about Ghana’s import regulations. This will help ensure compliance and a smoother importation process. Additionally, staying updated with any changes in import regulations is crucial to avoid any delays or penalties during the importation process.

How to Import Goods into Ghana 

After going through the regulation guiding goods importations into Ghana and you agreed to it terms and conditions applied, you can now proceed to importantions. To import goods into Ghana, you need to follow a step-by-step process. Here’s a general guide to help you understand how to import goods in Ghana:

1. Research and Identify Products: 

Conduct market research to identify the products you want to import. Consider factors such as demand, competition, profitability, and compliance with local regulations.

2. Obtain the necessary licenses and permits:

 Depending on the type of goods you intend to import, you may need to obtain specific licenses or permits from the relevant government agencies. Contact the appropriate regulatory authorities to determine the requirements.

3. Find Suppliers:

Source reliable suppliers from whom you can purchase the goods. Consider factors such as quality, price, shipping terms, and delivery times. It is advisable to verify the credibility and reputation of potential suppliers, especially if they are located outside Ghana.

4. Determine the Incoterms: 

Agree on the Incoterms (International Commercial Terms) with your supplier to determine the responsibilities and obligations of each party concerning the transportation and delivery of the goods.

5. Arrange Shipping and Logistics:

Make arrangements for shipping and logistics, including transportation, insurance, and customs clearance. You can work with a freight forwarder or shipping agent to handle these aspects. Consider factors such as the mode of transportation (air, sea, or land), shipping routes, and transit times.

6. Prepare Documentation:

Gather all the necessary documentation required for customs clearance and other regulatory processes. This may include commercial invoices, packing lists, bills of lading, certificates of origin, import permits, and any other relevant certificates. Ensure that all documents are accurate and comply with the specific requirements of the importing country.

7. Pay Customs Duties and Taxes:

Calculate and pay the applicable customs duties, taxes, and fees. Customs officials will assess these charges based on factors such as the value, quantity, and classification of the imported goods. Familiarize yourself with the tariff rates and customs regulations to accurately estimate the costs involved.

8. Customs Clearance:

Submit the required documentation to the customs authorities and go through the customs clearance process. Customs officials will verify the documents, inspect the goods if necessary, and determine if any further action or payment is required. Once your goods are cleared, you can take possession of them.

9. Transport and Delivery:

Arrange for the transportation of the goods from the port or customs warehouse to your intended destination. This may involve hiring a local transport provider or coordinating with your logistics partner.

10. Compliance and Post-Importation Requirements:

Ensure compliance with any post-importation requirements, such as quality control, labeling, packaging, and product registration. Also, maintain accurate records of all imported goods and related documentation for future reference or audits.

Note that this is just a general guide, and the specific importation process may vary depending on the nature of the goods and the applicable regulations. It is advisable to consult with experienced professionals, such as customs agents or freight forwarders, who are familiar with the import procedures in Ghana to ensure a smoother importation process.

What are Ghana imports documentations

When importing goods into Ghana, there are several important documents that you will need to provide for customs clearance. These documents include:

  • 1. Commercial Invoice: 

This document provides details about the imported goods, such as their description, quantity, value, and sellers’ or buyers’ information. It serves as evidence of the transaction and is used to calculate customs duties and taxes.

  • 2. Packing List: 

The packing list provides a detailed breakdown of the contents of each package, including the weight, dimensions, and markings. It helps customs officials verify the accuracy of the shipment and is useful for inventory control.

  • 3. Bill of Lading/Airway Bill: 

This document is issued by the shipping line, airline, or freight forwarder and serves as proof of shipment. It includes information such as the origin and destination of the goods, the names of the consignor and consignee, and the terms of shipment.

  • 4. Import Declaration Form: 

This form captures essential information about the imported goods, such as their classification, value, quantity, and country of origin. It is used by customs officials to assess duties and monitor trade statistics.

  • 5. Insurance Certificate: 

If you have purchased insurance for your goods during transit, youwill need to provide the insurance certificate as proof of coverage.

  • 6. Certificates and Permits: 

Depending on the nature of your goods, you may need to obtain specific certificates or permits. For example, certain items like pharmaceuticals, chemicals, or agricultural products may require additional documentation to comply with health and safety regulations.

  • 7. Other Relevant Documents:

 Depending on your specific circumstances, you may need to provide additional documents such as licenses, certificates of origin, or any other related paperwork required by the authorities.

It is crucial to ensure that all documentation is accurate, complete, and complies with the specific requirements of Ghana’s customs authorities. Working with experienced customs clearing agents or freight forwarders can help you navigate the documentation process and ensure compliance with import regulations.

What are the Import Duties in Ghana 

Import duties in Ghana are fees imposed on imported goods by the customs authorities. These duties are designed to protect domestic industries, generate revenue for the government, and regulate trade. The import duties in Ghana vary depending on the type of goods being imported and their classification under the Harmonized System (HS).

The calculation of import duties in Ghana is based on the CIF (Cost, Insurance, Freight) value of the goods, which includes the cost of the goods, insurance, and shipping fees. The CIF value is multiplied by the applicable duty rate to determine the amount of duty owed. In addition to import duties, other taxes and charges may also apply, such as VAT (Value Added Tax), National Health Insurance Levy, and ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) levy.

It is important to note that Ghana has a Common External Tariff (CET) in place, which is a unified tariff structure adopted by member countries of the ECOWAS. This means that the duties applied to imported goods in Ghana are generally consistent with the duty rates in other ECOWAS member states.

To find out the specific duty rates applicable to your goods, you can refer to the Ghana Customs Tariff which contains the classification of goods and their corresponding duty rates. The Ghana Revenue Authority (Customs Division) is responsible for administering and collecting import duties.

It is recommended to consult with a customs agent or freight forwarder who is familiar with the import regulations and can assist in determining the correct duty rates for your specific goods. This can help ensure compliance with the customs requirements and avoid any potential penalties or delays in the importation process.

Suppliers for Importing in Ghana 

When importing goods into Ghana, it’s important to find reliable suppliers who can provide the products you need. Here are some key options for finding suppliers for importing in Ghana:

  • 1. Online platforms:

Utilize online platforms such as Alibaba, Global Sources, or Made-in-China to search for suppliers worldwide. These platforms allow you to connect with manufacturers and suppliers and explore a wide range of products.

  • 2. Trade directories:

Ghana has trade directories, such as the Ghana Association of Industries (GAI) directory, which lists local suppliers and manufacturers. These directories can be a valuable resource for finding suppliers within the country.

  • 3. Trade shows and exhibitions

Attend trade shows and exhibitions related to your industry. These events provide an opportunity to meet suppliers in person, assess product quality, and establish business relationships.

  • 4. Local contacts and referrals: 

Seek recommendations from local business contacts, industry associations, or other importers who have experience in the Ghanaian market. They might be able to connect you with reliable suppliers.

  • 5. Chamber of Commerce:

Contact the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry or relevant trade associations. They can provide information and resources to help you find suitable suppliers.

When evaluating potential suppliers, consider factors such as their reliability, product quality, pricing, manufacturing capacity, certifications, and track record. It’s advisable to request samples, conduct due diligence, and communicate your specific requirements and expectations with potential suppliers.

Additionally, it’s beneficial to establish a good working relationship and maintain regular communication with your chosen suppliers. Building trust and understanding can contribute to a successful and sustainable importation process.

What Are The Shipping Methods For Importing Goods Into Ghana

There are several shipping methods to choose from when importing into Ghana. The most common shipping methods for importing to Ghana include:

1. Air Freight: 

This method involves transporting goods by air. It is generally faster and more suitable for high-value or time-sensitive shipments. However, it can be more expensive compared to other methods.

2. Sea Freight: 

Sea freight involves shipping goods in containers via cargo ships. It is a cost-effective method for transporting large quantities of goods. However, it usually takes longer than air freight.

3. Land Transportation: 

If Ghana shares a border with the country you are importing from, you may consider land transportation. This method involves transporting goods overland by trucks or rail.

When choosing a shipping method, consider factors such as the nature of your goods, the required delivery time, cost, and the reliability of the shipping service. It’s important to work with reputable shipping companies that have experience in handling international shipments.

You may also choose to work with a freight forwarder who can handle the logistics of your shipment, including selecting the appropriate shipping method, handling customs clearance, and managing the transportation process.

Financing Import Transactions in Ghana 

Import transactions in Ghana can be financed through various methods depending on your financial situation and preferences. Here are some common financing options for importing goods in Ghana:

  • 1. Self-Funding:

If you have sufficient capital, you can finance your import transactions using your own funds. This eliminates the need for external financing and gives you full control over the payment process.

  • 2. Trade Credit:

With trade credit, the supplier allows you to defer payment for a certain period of time, typically 30, 60, or 90 days. This allows you to receive and sell the goods before making payment, which can help improve cash flow.

  • 3. Bank Loans:

Banks in Ghana offer import financing options, such as import loans or letters of credit. Import loans provide you with the necessary funds to pay for imports, and you repay the loan over a specified period of time. Letters of credit are guarantees issued by a bank that provide assurance to the supplier that payment will be made upon meeting certain conditions.

  • 4. Export Credit Agencies:

Export credit agencies (ECAs) provide financing and insurance services to support international trade. They can provide credit facilities to both exporters and importers, helping to mitigate risks and provide financial support for import transactions.

  • 5. Trade Finance Facilities:

Some banks and financial institutions offer trade finance facilities specifically designed to support import and export transactions. These facilities may include services such as pre-shipment financing, post-shipment financing, and invoice financing.

  • 6. Factoring:

Factoring involves selling your accounts receivable invoices to a financial institution at a discounted rate. This provides immediate cash flow for your import transactions and eliminates the need to wait for customers to make payment.

When considering financing options, it is important to assess your financial situation, the cost of financing, and the risks associated with each method. It is advisable to consult with financial advisors or banks to determine the most suitable financing option for your specific import transactions.

Importing and Custom Procedures in Ghana 

When importing goods into Ghana, it is important to understand the customs procedures and requirements to ensure a smooth and compliant process. Here are the general steps involved in importing and customs procedures in Ghana:

  • 1. Obtain an Importer’s Tax Identification Number (TIN):

Before engaging in any import activities, you need to register with the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and obtain a TIN.

  • 2. Classify the goods:

Determine the appropriate HS (Harmonized System) code for your imported goods. This code is essential for customs clearance and helps calculate the applicable customs duties and taxes.

  • 3. Prepare shipping documents:

Prepare the necessary shipping documents, including the commercial invoice, packing list, bill of lading/airway bill, and any other required documentation specified by the GRA.

  • 4. Pre-arrival assessment:

Submit the shipping documents and relevant information to the GRA through the Ghana Customs Management System (GCMS) for pre-arrival assessment. This step allows the GRA to assess the applicable customs duties and taxes and facilitate a faster customs clearance process.

  • 5. Pay customs duties and taxes:

Based on the pre-arrival assessment, pay the required customs duties and taxes to the GRA. Payment can be made electronically or at designated banks.

  • 6. Customs clearance:

Once the goods arrive in Ghana, initiate the customs clearance process. Submit the necessary documentation to the customs authorities and undergo inspections and verifications as required.

  • 7. Inspection and examination:

Depending on the nature of the goods, customs authorities may conduct physical inspections or examinations to verify the declared value, quantity, and quality of the imported goods.

  • 8. Payment of additional charges:

If any additional charges arise during the customs clearance process (e.g., demurrage or storage fees), settle them to obtain the release of your goods.

  • 9. Release of goods:

Once all customs requirements are met, the customs authorities will release your goods for delivery. Arrange for transport and delivery to your designated location.

10. Post-clearance audit: Be aware that the GRA may conduct post-clearance audits to verify the accuracy and compliance of your import declarations. Maintain organized records and cooperate with any audits if necessary.

It is crucial to consult with a licensed customs broker or seek professional advice to navigate the customs procedures effectively. Customs regulations and procedures may vary depending on the nature of the goods, their origin, and the specific requirements set by the GRA.


Importing goods into Ghana can be a profitable business venture when done correctly. However, it’s essential to follow the country’s import regulations, stay informed about changes, and maintain compliance throughout the importation process. With thorough research, proper documentation, and adherence to standards, you can establish a successful import business in Ghana.