Free Zone means an area or building declared as a Free Zone by publication in the Commercial and Industrial Bulletin. It includes Single Factory Zones, Free Ports, Free Airports, Free River and Lake Ports among others (Free Zones Act 1995, 504). Unlike other Suspense Regimes, the free zones operations do not require the execution of a bond. A Free Zone (FZ) although located within the territory of Ghana, is for Customs and Tax purposes, legally treated as a “foreign territory”. Therefore, all transactions in a Free Zone are deemed to have been carried out in a foreign land and are subject only to the national laws of free zone operations. However free zone companies remain subject to all other (non-customs) national laws of Ghana.This means goods moving from in and out of the free zone are treated for Customs purposes as similar to other suspense regimes. Consequently, duties and taxes are not payable unless the goods are moved from the Free Zones into Home Consumption.The Ghana Free Zones program is designed to promote processing and manufacturing of goods through the establishment of Export Processing Zones (EPZ). These are to encourage development of commercial and service activities, offering a conducive business environment to produce at minimum cost for export. Free Zones companies are legally permitted to sell up to 30% of their products in Ghana but only after they have completed the correct declaration procedures which are broadly similar to declaration of import.
Free Zones are directly controlled and licensed by the Ghana Free Zones Authority which undertakes the initial approval before customs procedures begin.
Officer – In – Charge – Free Zone submits the name of the assigned officer to be entered onto ICUMS
1.The declarant submits an E-Bill of Entry in ICUMS
2.The declarant submits a validated Declaration to the Free Zones Office together with other relevant documents (i.e. Invoice, Bill of Lading, Packing List, Ghana Free Zones Authority (GFZA) Form 9)
3.The Free Zone office will ensure:
4.If the free zone office confirms that there is no discrepancy, the declaration is referred to the Examination officer to secure the consignment with an e-trak device before referring to Preventive for further processing.
5.If the declaration is queried the declarant makes the necessary correction(s) and reports back.
6.For high risk goods an escort may be required in addition to the e-tracking device
7.At the freight station the Examination officer conducts an external examination by confirming the container number and the seal number.
8.The Examination Office supervises the sealing of the container and refers the consignment to the Preventive Unit.
9.The Preventive Officer conducts an external examination and notifies the Resident Officer.
10.The Resident Officer receives the good and:
11.Where there is discrepancy the Resident Officer secures the goods and escalates the matter to a supervisor.
Goods can only be removed from the Free Zones facility under the following procedures:
Sales of finished products and valuable waste to the local market should be approved by Ghana Free Zones Authority (GFZA) and Customs. This is to ensure that the legal and regulatory requirements are fulfilled prior to importation.
Local sales from Free Zone into Ghana are considered as imports and therefore dutiable
To monitor and control transfer of goods from one Free zone to another, the following procedure is followed;
Expired, damaged and un-recyclable waste materials are destroyed under the supervision of customs and other relevant Agencies and a destruction certificate is then issued.