After the Auditor-General indicted the management of the Ghana Free Zones Authority for failing to recover $150,000 from 13 companies, the Board has explained that the companies in question were not properly categorised as inactive.
The management failed to recover the amount covering rent, land premium and license fees.
Appearing before the Public Accounts Committee to answer questions regarding the 2017 Auditor General’s report on public boards, the CEO for the Ghana Free Zones Authority, Michael Okyere Baafi, and the board’s Financial Manager, Stephen Frimpong, assured the committee that measures have been instituted to address the infractions in the report including delisting of companies in bad standing.
He noted that some companies are defaulting because they are now delisted “and no longer functional.”
“At the last board meeting, the board gave us clearance to delist those companies that are inactive because those inactive companies still have their outstanding balances on our books which is not too good for us,” Mr. Baafi explained to the committee.
“As I am talking to you now, the letters are ready. By next week, we will serve them notice,” he added.
A member of the committee and the Ningo Prampram MP, Sam George, urged the committee to ensure there is clarity on the status of the companies in its accounts.
“It will be important for you to keep your books active. Have a list of only active companies so that when the auditors come in, this is segregated and not put as debt on your books,” Mr. George advised.
The Ghana Free Zones Authority facilitates the setting up of free zones in Ghana to promote economic development and to regulate its related activities.
It was enacted by an Act of Parliament, the Free Zone Act 1995 (Act 504).
One of its main objectives is to attract foreign direct investment.
Companies operating under the programme are granted a100 percent exemption from the payment of direct and indirect duties and levies on all imports for production and exports from free zones, 100 percent exemption from the payment of income tax on profits for 10 years which will not exceed eight percent thereafter, and a total exemption from the payment of withholding taxes from dividends arising out of free zone investment.