By Alfred K Dogbey
The ongoing nationwide training seminar embarked on by the Management of Ghana Free Zones Board (GFZB) in collaboration with the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Ghana Immigration Services (GIS) to elaborate and educate free zones enterprises, about the rules and regulations of the board, have save many of the enterprises from facing the laws of the State.
It has emerged from the seminar that, many of the companies on the free zones enclave, appear to be ignorance or have inadequate knowledge of the procedures and legislative instruments, such as the Free Zones Act, (Act 504), the Immigration Act of 2000 (Act 573), the Internal Revenue Act of 2000 (Act 592) and its collaborating laws, which they should comply with.
At the seminar it came to light that many of the Free Zones companies in sneak manner do not pay duty tax on products or items given out in the name of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and charity. Again, it was also discovered that some of the enterprises, do not attach Customs
Declaration Forms to their goods during export.
These and other irregularities committed by these enterprises, according to the regulatory agency officials considered as “recipe for fraud” against the laws.
The revelations came to the fore, during the course of copious questions being bombarded to the GFZB and other regulators by the representatives of the enterprises present at one of the seminars for the Northern Sector Free Zones Enterprises held in Kumasi at Golden Tulip Hotel on Friday,
The seminar, led by the Acting Deputy Executive Secretary, Obuobia Darko-Opoku, Head of Compliance Department, John Adda Abuga and other senior management staff of the Board, said it would not tolerate such companies who violet laws.
The activities and flouting of the laws by a certain wood processing company in Kumasi (name withheld) also came to the attention of regulatory agency officials. The Chief Revenue Officer of Customs Division of GRA, James Sumabe, publicly declared that they would soon be investigating their dealings.
Participants who took part in the event told The Herald after the seminar that indeed the training and explanations provided by the Board has saved their enterprises from trouble.
Mr. Mohinder Singh Malik, a Senior Engineer from the springs and Bolts Company, located at Asokwa, a suburb of Kumasi who highly acknowledged the organizers, confessed that the seminar has in fact cleared their ignorance. He said, the seminar was a “good idea and I’ve learnt a lot and well educated”.
Madam Darko-Opoku told The Herald that management belief “it is necessary to have occasional interactions with the operators with the view of updating them on some changes in their operational activities and remind them of the need to show interest in these procedures and laws as not to be ignorant of them”.