Free Zones Board Bares Teeth

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Threatens To Deal With Recalcitrant Companies

By Alfred K Dogbey

Management of Ghana Free Zones Board (GFZB), has issued final warning to deal ruthless with wayward Free Zone Enterprises, who disobey the rules and regulations of the Board.

The Board, led by its Deputy Executive Secretary, Madam Oboubia Darko-Opoku said, Management was deeply worried about companies’ continuous flouting of the Board’s regulations; Act 504, enacted by Parliament in 1995.

The Board, gave the warming at a day’s training seminar in Accra last Thursday. It was chaired by Madam Florence M. Hutchful for Free Zones Companies from Greater Accra, Volta, Eastern and Central Region.

Madam Darko-Opoku told participants that the Act, which seeks to promote economic development, provides for the regulation of activities in Free Zone and other related purposes, would be “strictly enforced along with punitive measures”.

She pointed out that, it is part of the Board’s mandate to monitor the activities of its Enterprises across the country to ensure that the companies’ operations are in line with rules and regulations of the Board.

According to her, the continuous flouting of its Rules and Regulations by these enterprises “may be due to inadequate knowledge of the procedures and the various legislative instruments such as the Free Zones Act, (Act 504), Immigration Act, 200 (Act 573), internal revenue act (Act 592), regulating the free zones and its collaborating agencies”.

In view of this, “it has become necessary to interact with the operators with the view of updating them on some changes in their operational activities and remind them of the need to be interested in these procedures and laws”.

The Deputy Executive Secretary, later conceded in an interview with The Herald that some companies, who have failed to comply with regulations, escaped punishment. She, however, maintained that the board is not taking the issue lightly, and will soon start dealing drastically with the various companies.

She warned that “after this training any company found culpable would be dealt with strongly” adding that “offenders’ licenses would be revoked.
Asked how the Board intends to monitor the activities of these companies, she said the Board has a Compliance Department with very strong staff
capacity, who would be engaged in an intensive monitoring to check the activities of the companies.

Meanwhile, Solicitor Secretary of the Board, Madam Kate Abbeo, described as very principled woman has disclosed that already, some disobedient companies have had their licenses revoked, and have since been visiting the Board pleading for mercy.

Madam Abbeo, asked the participants and representatives of the various Enterprises to send the warning notices to their respective companies, so as not to face punitive measures outlined by the Board to deal with offenders.

To make the seminar more effective, the Board invited some of its collaborators from the Customs, Domestic Tax Divisions of Ghana Revenue Authority, as well as the Immigration to educate the participants on the various operational procedures governing Free Zone Enterprises.

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