As part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities, The Ghana Free Zones Board, made a cash donation to the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Usman Nuhu Sharubutu to support and augment his efforts, as he strives to put smiles on the faces of the poor, needy, aged, orphans and other vulnerable groups in the society.
This was to mark the end of a successful Ramadan, a month in which Muslims are enjoined to observe a thirty-day fast.
He advised all Muslims to remain steadfast and resolute as far as their renewed relationship with God was concerned and that the thirty-day fast and subsequent Eid celebration, goes beyond spiritual obligation, it manifests itself socially, economically and emotionally to show love and compassion to humanity for which continuity is a priority.
He also said that the youth of today would be handed the mantle of leadership to steer the affairs of the nation in the future for which reason education should be the bed rock of child-upbringing from the family level, which is the basic unit of society. Through education one can gain employable skills required to be gainfully employed to get out of the quagmire of poverty.
It is only through education that we can access government interventions that have been designed to eradicate poverty, hunger and disease.
Much as the National Chief Imam’s theme for his Eid Sermon centred on Economic relief for National transformation and development, he advised and drew Ghanaians’ attention to a verse in the Holy Quran Chapter 94 verses 5 and 6 that “So verily, with every difficulty, there is relief” .
We should, therefore, not lose hope and trust in our national leaders but come together as one nation, one people with a common destiny to help in the economic transformation of Ghana to accelerate development.
Hajia Hanatu Abubakar used the opportunity to sound a clarion call to Ghanaians to take advantage of the free zones programme. She explained that Ghana Free Zones Board (GFZB) is the primary agent for export-oriented development in Ghana as mandated by an act of parliament, the Free Zone Act 1995, ACT 504. The programme allows businesses (both local and foreign),(as captured in the mission statement of the board) to locate their companies to manufacture and produce by adding value to raw materials for export. The main idea of this programme was to develop Ghana into a hub for manufacturing and processing for export, promote enterprise development and job creation thereby accelerating economic development.
Speaking at the office of the National Chief Imam, while executing their CSR, the Investor Support Services Manager of the Ghana Free Zones Board, Hajia Hanatu Abubakar, used the occasion to clear the misconception among Ghanaians that the Free Zone programme is a reserve of Multi National Companies (MNCs) to the detriment of Ghanaian businessmen and entrepreneurs. She explained that out of the 253 licensed free zones companies, around 40 per cent are wholly owned by Ghanaians. The rest are made up of joint ventures between Ghanaians and other MNCs.
The involvement of Ghanaians in the Free Zones program is stated succinctly in the mission statement of the board, she re-iterated, for which the Ghana Free Zones Board would like to urge Ghanaian Businessmen, entrepreneurs and potential investors to take advantage of.
According to the mission statement of the GFZB, the purpose of introducing the programme is “To help transform Ghana into the Gateway to West Africa by creating an attractive and condusive business environment for the promotion and enhancement of domestic and foreign investment”. By this statement and without any doubt, Ghanaians are part of the target audience who are expected to help in this holistic transformation. She added that the Free Zones would soon roll out a serious media campaign to educate Ghanaians on the programme and its imminent advantages to the citizenry as well as the nation. Ghanaians’ involvement in the Free Zones programme would maximize the volume and value of exports which would create jobs, increase foreign exchange earnings, transfer of technology among others to develop Ghana sustainably in the long term.