Free Zones companies submit false reports – Michael Okyere Baafi

Micheal Okyere Baafi, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Free Zones Authority (GFZA), says most Free Zones enterprises fail to submit their quarterly reports and audited financial statements.

At a day’s forum on Thursday in Accra with CEOs of licensed free zones enterprises from the Eastern, Greater Accra and Volta Regions, Mr Okyere-Baafi stated that some of these entities also present false information which affects GFZA’s reports to government.

“The quarterly reports are expected to be submitted within a month after the end of the quarter and audited accounts within the first quarter of the ensuing year.

“More grievously, some of the quarterly reports are presented with false information. This lack of submission of quarterly returns and misrepresentation is affecting the GFZA’s reporting to government.”

The CEO said that some companies in the Free Zones Enclave do not comply with the rule of selling only 30 percent of products and exporting the remaining 70 percent.

“We have had complaints of Free Zones enterprises selling more than the stipulated 30 percent on the local market.”

Expressing worry about the situation, he said the authority was considering establishing a new unit at the secretariat for oil and gas, adding that a schedule of new tariffs and other charges had been circulated to all Free Zones enterprises.

He said the setting up of the new unit had become necessary because the oil and gas sector needs expertise to assist the companies to operate efficiently.

Furthermore, he said security at the Tema Export Processing Zone (EPZ) would be beefed up.

To actualise this, he said his outfit was engaging the Ghana Armed Forces to provide a military detachment at Tema EPZ, with the possibility of including a Police and Fire Service post within the area.

The GFZA, Mr Okyere-Baafi added, had put in place a new monitoring unit to monitor activities of Free Zones enterprises and report any challenge it might be confronted with to the FZA for immediate action.

Carlos Kingsley Ahenkorah, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, in a speech, said the authority was going to begin a massive facelift of the enclave to improve walls, roads and other security posts.

“We even intend to put up a police station within the enclave to ensure security,” adding that government would soon launch its “One Region One Enclave” project to industrialise Ghana.

The theme of the forum was “Resolving Challenges for Business Growth.”

News Reporter

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