The Ghana Free Zones Authority (GFZA) has held a one-day capacity building workshop for members of the Parliamentary Press Corps (PPC) to enhance their knowledge on the functions of the Authority and help educate and promote the Free Zones to the Ghanaian public.
The theme for the training workshop was: “The parliamentary reporter as an effective link between parliament and the public.
Participants were taken through various topics including background of the GFZA, the legal mandates and operation scope of the Authority and its impact on the development of the country; the role of the Ministry of Trade and Industry in ensuring acceptable delivery and achievements and challenges among many others.
Head of Application Processing, Mr. Nsiah Asante, explaining the significance of the Authority, indicated that the establishment of the Ghana Free Zones is imperative because it seeks to enhance the exports of the country and ensure value is added to the abundant raw materials before export.
The GFZA, he said, provides a one-stop service center for prospective and licensed investors and facilitates, regulates and monitors activities in the zones.
According to him, the GFZA offers extensive and generous incentives to potential investors interested in developing and operating free zone enclaves and single factory free zones in order to create viable and sustainable business environment to attract investors.
He revealed that the Authority has identified priority sectors based on comparative advantages of the country and these include, agro food processing, floriculture, ICT, textile/apparel manufacturing, seafood processing, jewelry/handcraft production, pharmaceuticals and several others.
“These sectors are however not exclusive and investors can invest in any other sector of their choice,” he stated.
He explained that the Authority operates free zone enclaves in Tema, Yabiw/Shama, Sekondi and Ashanti dedicated to various sectors where interested investors can invest in.
Mr. Nsiah Asante noted the development of many countries were built on the creation of economic zones that attracted investors looking to export to foreign countries and thereby supported the growth of these countries.
The Free Zones, he said, provides free duties and taxes for investors but on condition that 70% of products manufactured in zone are exported.
He disclosed that contrary to perception, the free zones are not reserved for foreigners and stressed that Ghanaian companies can choose to operate in free zone enclaves but must ensure their target would be to export because of the tax incentives they receive.
Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Joseph Osei-Owusu, who delivered the keynote address, stressed the link between institutions and the media is critical to the work of government.
He noted that at all times the Ghanaian media must be bias towards Ghana except in the case of human rights issues where the journalists are expected to defend the rights of the people.
The BBC and CNN, he said, always present favourable information about their countries to make them look better to attract more investors and urged the Ghanaian media not to do different.
He praised the GFZA for the initiative to train members of the press corps and stressed that enlightened journalists could proved valuable service to the authority by educating Ghanaians on the importance and opportunities in the free zones enclaves.
By Osumanu Al-Hassanfirstname.lastname@example.org