Gov’t generates $30.9bn under Free Zones programme

The Ghana Free Zones Board (GFZB) has generated US$30.9 billion total value of exports under the free zones programme from 1996 to December 2016. In 2016, the entity made US$2.3 billion.

The Executive Secretary of the Ghana Free Zones Board (GFZB), Michael Okyere Baafi, said this at the launch its maiden Investment Week Celebration dubbed, “Promoting export oriented investments for National Development”  to woo local participation in the export-oriented business.

He indicated that out of the 201-licensed free zone companies, 56, representing 28% are wholly Ghanaian while 63 others (31%) are joint ventures.

According to him, as part of the implementation of its new strategy, the Board is poised to increase local participation through frequent engagement and educating them on opportunities that exist in the Free Zones programme.

“We want to engage Ghanaian businessmen and women by aggressively marketing the investment opportunities available under the Ghana Free Zones programme to them,” Mr. Baafi said.

The board will dedicate the last week of August in every year to empower local investors with the financial muscle to invest and grow their business.

The Board said Ghanaian companies operating in the free zones enclave who are financially distressed have an opportunity to access government’s stimulus package.

Mr. Baafi, said the new management is working towards facilitating the operations of export-oriented companies to take advantage of government’s flagship policy of one district, one factory.

He said the rationale for establishing the GFZ in 1995 still remains valid likewise the main policy objectives which is to promote economic development by attracting local and foreign direct investment and promoting export diversification.

Apart from the increase in foreign exchange earnings, he emphasized, other objectives include the provision of business opportunities for local and foreign investors to undertake joint ventures, enhancement of technical and management skills of Ghanaians and the promotion of technology transfer.

The Investment Week Celebration which began with a media briefing will include other activities such as breakfast meetings with business owners, a tour of the Free Zones enclave, staff durbar and a corporate health walk at the Peduase Mountains on the last day.

Source: Abubakari Seidu Ajarfor || Businessweek

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