Free Zones Companies Warned Against Trade Malpractices

49

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghana Free Zones Authority (GFZA), Mr. Michael Okyere Baafi has issued sterling warning to companies operating in the Free Zones Enclave to desist from the habit of playing tricks with his outfit in order to avoid indefinite sanctions.
It has been discovered that most of the over 200 companies operating within the enclaves have failed to submit their quarterly Financial Statements to the Ghana Free Zones Authority. Again, these companies have been working with expatriate staff who have “VISITOR’s” immigration status in the country, and worse of it all, these Free Zones enclave companies presented with the authority false information, as most of them do not comply with the basic requirement on Free Zones companies to sell only 30 percent of their products locally and export the remaining 70 percent, a situation which the Free Zones boss says works against tax collection from them the GFZA boss has said.
Mr. Michael Okyere Baafi said, so far less than 20 companies out of over 200 companies operating in the enclaves have submitted their financial statements, and these are the same companies that continue to comply with the rules, he told journalists and some Chief Executive Officers (CEOS) of licensed Free Zones Enterprises from the Eastern region, Greater Accra and Volta regions at a one-day forum in Accra.
“Most of the companies are not submitting their books to us because they have expatriate working staff with visitor’s entry permits in the country. Some of them also come with falsity and misrepresentation of information that affects the Ghana Free Zones Authority’s reporting to government,” he said.
He disclosed that his outfit has received several complaints about many Free Zones companies selling more than the stipulated 30% of their goods and products on the local market. Again, most of the companies also owe ground rent, and some have not renewed their licenses which has greatly affected finances of the authority, he added.
BACKGROUND OF FORMATION OF THE FREE ZONES ENCLAVES
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.
It works to create a conducive atmosphere for foreign investments and currently has capital investment worth over US$3.4 billion, with over 200 companies as members.
The Free Zones Enclave was established in 1995 and has been exporting an annual average of US$1.5 billion worth of products, or some US$30.9 billion income over the past two decades.
Currently, its focus, is to do some US$5.4 billion of exports in 2018, by licensing more Free Zones companies.