Free Zones Enterprises Made Export Earnings US$27Billon; Employee 31,000 Ghanaians– CEO

Mr. Michael Oquaye Jnr. The Chief Executive Officer CEO of Ghana Free Zones Authority (GFZA) has disclosed that the Free Zones enterprises have made export earnings over US$27 billion employing about 33,000 people directly with over 31,000 being Ghanaians.

According to him, the investments made in reaching the fate had also led to the employment of about 33,000 people directly with over 31, 000 being Ghanaians. Ghana’s earnings had been a little over half of the US$ 46 billion earned by the Nigerian Free Zones industry.

To him, Free Zones companies are not entirely foreign-owned, Ghanaian ownership is 30 per cent, Ghanaian-foreign ownership is over 30 per cent and foreign is 34 per cent. Currently, 217 enterprises are actively operating under the Authority,’ he say.

Mr Oquaye Jnr made this known at Ghana Free Zones Authority GFZA, 3rd Annual Investment Week celebration, held at Marriott Hotel in Accra.

The event, which was under the theme: “GFZA: Championing Export-led Industrial growth in the context of AfCFTA and world trade,” therefore updated participants on new trends and policies that would impact businesses positively.

GFZA 3rd Annual Investment Week celebration is to discuss the issues, improving free zones operations and address challenges enterprises faced amidst the current global economic meltdown and is expected to be held annually to showcase the achievements of the Free Zones Programme.

According to Mr. Oquaye Jnr, the essence of the forum, is to come together to take stock and discuss issues of common interest to improve the operations of the free zones authority and enterprises as well as address any challenges county may be facing because of the pandemic and current worldwide economic situation.

“It is also to update you on new trends and policies that will have an impact on your operations. For the opening session, we have our Board Chairman and Minister of Trade & Industry as well as the Guest of Honour from the Presidency who will be properly introduced at the appropriate time to give us their addresses,” he added.

In his welcome address, Lawyer Michael Oquaye Jnr alluded that the Authority’s role was not only to regulate but facilitate to ensure that business investments in Ghana yielded maximum returns. “This could be achieved through cooperation between all government agencies as well as private sector, whilst maximising the opportunities available on the AfCFTA market.”

He made known that the Authority’s role not only as a regulator but also as a facilitator ensuring that your investments in Ghana yield maximum returns. He revealed that Some companies have not submitted their quarterly returns and audited financial statements.

Thus, he said this lack of submission of quarterly returns is affecting the Authority’s accurate data for management reporting and decision making. Some of the companies also owe ground rent and some have not renewed their licenses.

He therefore entreated the CEO’s to ensure that these anomalies are corrected in the ensuing year, so as to enhance our ability to be of greater service to all. Government Agencies are not to be seen as barriers, but as facilitators and promoters of business.

Adding that this requires cooperation between all government agencies as well as private sector. “We are all one family and our collective purpose is to serve all GhanaiansI equally encourage you to share your success stories with us. This will motivate us to serve you better.”

The 3rd Annual Investment Week celebration was attended by Mr. Alan Kyeremanten, Minister of Trade & Industry and Chairman of the Board at the Ghana Free Zones Authority, Hon. Oboshie Sai-Coffie, Senior Advisor to the President on Media and Strategic Communications, Hon. Nana Ama Dokua Asiamah-Adjei, Deputy Minister in Charge of Internal Trade, MOTI .

The rest are, Hon. Michael Okyere Baafi, Deputy Minister in Charge of Industry, MOTI , Hon. Herbert Krapa, Deputy Minister in Charge of International Trade, MOTI , the Board Members of the Ghana Free Zones Authority, The CEO, Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA)The CEO, Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) and others.

report By Bernard K DADZI

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