The Ghana Free Zones Board (GFZB) has, for the first time in its 22 years existence, organised a three-day foreign trade mission for 17 Ghanaian companies to seek foreign investments.
Consequently, the high powered Ghanaian maiden trade mission, which is led by Mr. Carlos Kingsley Ahenkorah, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry is in Prague in the Czech Republic to leverage the economic relationship between the two countries to attract investments into Ghana.
The trade mission, which is being organised by the GFZB in collaboration with Ghana Embassy in the Czech Republic also seeks to develop partnership between companies of the two countries.
The trade mission includes Deputy Minister of Information, Mr. Perry Okudzeto, the Executive Secretary of GFZB, Mr. Michael Okyere Baafi, deputy Executive Secretary of the board, Mrs. Kate Abbeo, officials of GFZB, the Chief Executive of Tema Oil Refinery, Mr. Isaac Osei, and some Ghanaian business executives representing the Ghanaian 17 companies.
Some of the companies participating in the mission are Tema Oil Refinery, Tropical Cable and Conductor Limited, Fraga Oil Ghana Limited, Microfinance and Small Loan Center, Wildam Engineering Services Limited, Dihoc Footwear Division Limited, and Phoenix Insurance Limited.
Others are West African Foods Limited, DMT Collateral Management Company Limited and Prefos Limited, and Sarpok Company Limited.
Mr. Ahenkorah praised the Free Zones board for taking the initiative to organise the maiden trade mission which he described as very important and timely.
He explained that the trip was important because it aligned with the government’s economic transformational agenda which among its key drivers is the increase of exports revenue through more exports.
The deputy minister urged the local companies to ensure that they engaged their Czech counterparts in a very meaningful way such that it would lead to the creation of meaningful partnerships.
The Executive Secretary of GFZB, Mr. Michael Okyere Baafi told Graphic Online in an interview in Prague that the rationale for organizing the trip was to give meaning to the GFZB’s focus of attracting foreign direct investments and also provide a platform for the participating Ghanaian companies to seek strategic partnerships and also strategic investors with their Czech counterparts.
He also expressed the board’s determination in exposing local investors to opportunities available under the free zones programme and ultimately encourage them to take advantage of them.
Currently, 56 out of the 201 companies operating under the free zones programme are wholly-owned indigenous companies. This tends to create an impression that the whole idea of the free zones is to target only foreign companies, but that is exactly what the current leadership of the board wants to address.
The Executive Secretary was hopeful that a lot of fruitful partnerships would be formed among the Ghanaian companies and their Czech counterparts.
Free Zones concept
The board is the implementer of Ghana’s free zones concept through the export processing zones (EPZs).
The EPZs encourages businesses to manufacture, process, develop commercial services and export them.
The concept gives tax incentives to businesses that export 70 per cent of their produce and has since its establishment in 1995 played a key role in raising the country’s foreign exchange levels.
As part of the mission, the Ghanaian business executives will Monday tour some of Czech’s businesses such as UNIPETROL, the country’s oil refinery, CZECH INVEST, Tekon Teplice s.r.o.; and MODUS s.r.o.