PROCEDURES TO BECOME A FREE ZONE COMPANY
Investors are required to go through the following application procedure to obtain a Free Zone license
- Incorporate a company in Ghana with the Registrar General’s Department.
- Obtain and complete the GFZB Application Form (US$ 100) and submit with the following:
- Business Plan
- Copy of Certificate of Incorporation
- Copy of Certificate to Commence Business
- Copy of Company’s code
- Evidence of possession/lease of real property or intent to acquire such property
- MOU with potential clients
- Environmental Protection Agency Permit
- Evidence of Funding/Capital Transfer
- Any other relevant document
- After completing the application and submitting it with all the necessary and required documents, and upon receipt, GFZB will notify the prospective investor of the status of his/her application for license within 28 working days.
FREE ZONE COMPANY LOCATION
A Free Zone company can be located either in any of the Export Processing Zones (EPZ) or anywhere in Ghana upon the approval of the Ghana Free Zones Board (GFZB). In essence, 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.
INCENTIVES FOR LICENSED FREE ZONE COMPANIES
There are monetary and non-monetary incentives. The monetary incentives offered 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 which will not exceed 8% thereafter.
- Total exemption from payment of withholding taxes from dividends arising out of free zone investment.
- Relief from double taxation for foreign investors and employees where Ghana has a double taxation agreement with the country of the investors or employees.
Non-monetary incentives include:
- 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 net 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 authorized for sale in the local market.
- Free Zone investments are also guaranteed against nationalization and expropriation.
SECTORS WHERE FREE ZONE COMPANIES CAN INVEST
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 with exception of plastic manufacturing; Timber related activities and enterprises engaged in the exploration of extraction of precious metals, gas and crude oil.
- Agro Food Processing (Fruits, vegetables and coca)
- Information & Communication Technology (Data processing and transcription, call centers, software development and computer assembling)
- Textile/Apparel manufacturing (including accessories for garment industry and footwear)
- Sea Food Processing
- Jewelry/Handicraft Production
- Light Industry/Assembling Plant
- Metal Fabrication
COST FOR FREE ZONE LICENSE
The GFZB application form costs US$100.00. In addition to the application form fee, the following fees are also paid based on the sector.
A Developer’s license fee of US$5,000.00 or its equivalent in Ghana Cedis is charged by the GFZB in the first instance and a renewal fee of US$4,000.00 or its equivalent in Ghana Cedis is paid annually by the Developer.
Investors wishing to set up enterprises (for Manufacturing , Commercial or Services activities) will need to obtain the relevant Enterprise License:
An Enterprise fee of:
- US$3,000.00 for Manufacturing
- US$4,000.00 for Service
- US$10,000.00 for Commercial
or its equivalent in Ghana Cedi is charged by the GFZB in the first instance and a renewal fee of:
- US$2,500.00 for Manufacturing
- US$3,000.00 for Service
- US$5,000.00 for Commercial
or its equivalent in Ghana Cedi is paid annually by the Enterprise Operator.
Useful Link - www.gfzb.com.gh