Diasporas to enjoy tax holidays, exemptions

BY: Maclean Kwofi
AmCham
Hajia Alima Mahama, Ghana’s Ambassador to United States

The Ghana’s Ambassador to the United States, Hajia Alima Mahama, has announced plans by the government to provide attractive incentives under the Diaspora Engagement Policy for diaspora returnees to invest in the country.

She said incentives tabled were concessionally tax facilities, income tax holiday, facilitating and speeding permits and licenses, customs duty exemptions, opportunity for transfer of funds in respect to any location in case of liquidation.

It also intends to issue a new specialised identity card called Ghana Origin Identity (GOI) to provide holders all rights available to citizens except the right to vote, the ambassador stated.

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The forum

Speaking at the 2021 US-Ghana Business Virtual Forum on September 9, Hajia Mahama observed that the Diaspora Engagement Policy was going through stages of review and approval.

On the theme, “Promoting US-Ghana Partnership through Trade and Investment,” the two-day virtual forum will host several sessions with speakers and panellists such as the Senior Vice President and Head of Ghana Business of Kosmos Energy, Mr Joe Mensah; the Managing Partner of Kimathi & Partners, Mr Kimathi Kuenyehia, and the Country Manager of Uber, Ms Jessica Poku.

It is organised by the US Chamber of Commerce and the American Chamber of Commerce, Ghana (AMCHAM) and sponsored by firms such as Kosmos Energy, Kimathi & Partners, KFC and Coca-Cola Company Limited.

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Robust economy

The ambassador noted that Ghana would emerge from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with a more resilient and robust economy through strong leadership.

“Ghana has a stable macroeconomic environment and political stability. It also has the fastest mobile money market and with the introduction of QR code payment solution we have simplified merchant payments and reduced the use of cash,” she said.

She said to maximise investment potential a number of reforms were currently ongoing including business regulatory reforms with the President pledging to make the growth of the country’s economy a topmost priority for his second term.

Hajia Mahama indicated that Ghana’s economic assets were not only in the country rather in the diaspora.

“Diaspora investors hold an emotional tie to the country because they invest their money not only to grow their wealth but to help build the country.”

Ghana’s global diaspora of about four million often sends billions of dollars a year in remittances into the country.

The World Bank reported that even in the global economic downturn caused by the pandemic, remittances to Ghana increased by five per cent to US$3.6 billion.

“But diaspora investment is not only about remittances and so Ghana is currently looking to further leverage the power of our diaspora for trade and investment in the short term to raise US$1 billion in diaspora bonds in the international capital market,” she said.

She said for more than seven decades of migration today the United States has become home to about 200,000 Ghanaians immigrants and their children.

She added that with the huge success of the Year of Return (YoR) initiative in 2019 the government demonstrated tremendous untapped economic potential for diasporas to invest.

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Take advantage

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Investment Promotion Authority (GIPC), Mr Yofi Grant, said Ghanaians in the diaspora must take advantage of the country’s numerous investment prospects to facilitate development.

He said the country had an array of investment opportunities that were underutilised or untapped, which required huge capital and human investments.

He further noted that the country’s robust economy, political stability over the years and youthfulness of its population coupled with its vast natural resources should make it the first investment destination in Africa for investors, especially Ghanaians in the diaspora.