The Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament, Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh, has called for the amendment of the Free Zones Act 1995 to position the country to attract more local and foreign investments
Mr Annoh-Dompreh made the call in a statement he presented in Parliament last Tuesday on "Proposals on Amendment of the Free Zones Act 1995 (Act 504)”.
The statement touched on the weaknesses of the free zones scheme and indicated that worldwide, the scheme had undergone changes to attract the required investments to propel economic growth
He said a review of the legislative provisions was needed to ensure that there was enhanced monitoring for the country to derive the needed benefits from the scheme.
"In the era of globalisation and Internet, greater emphasis should be placed on paperless modes of business transaction, enhanced monitoring mechanisms to ensure strict compliance to regulations by investors and quality delivery of service by
Mr Annoh-Dompreh noted that a review should seek to enhance the mandate of the Free Zones Authority to act as a true authority.
He recalled that the general consolidation of laws in 2004 merely changed the name of the Ghana Free Zones Board to Ghana Free Zones Authority (GFZA) without any enhanced mandate.
Mr Annoh-Dompreh added that the act allowed for the declaration of free ports but there were no provisions and regulations to handle that regime, so legal provisions should be made to address that lacuna.
Besides, the act should also prescribe stiffer penalties for non-compliance by companies that abused the incentive regime administered by the regulator
Commenting on the statement, the Deputy Majority Leader, Ms Sarah Adwoa Safo, said the Business Development Ministry was expected to create more companies.
She asked the companies to take advantage of the opportunities offered in the free zones area
He said conferring legal identity on the GFZA was appropriate as it would give it