Business Information for Swiss Exporters

The information below is intended as general information only and not intended as financial or other advice. The Embassy considers the information reliable however it does not guarantee, express or imply its accuracy and it is not liable for any decisions taken based on this information.

For further information please contact:

Matthias Feldmann or Agatha Quayson
Economic Section
Kanda High Road, Ridge Street
North Ridge Area
Accra, Ghana
P.O. Box 359 GPO

Tel.: +233 (0) 30 2 22 50 08/24 82 26
Fax: +233 (0) 30 2 22 35 83
Mobile: +233 (0) 204 311 437

Starting a business in Ghana

Step 1. Business Registration at the Registrar General’s Department (RGD)

All limited liability companies are expected to fill out the relevant application forms, which serve as the Company’s Regulations. All companies must have an auditor, who must be a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, but should not be an officer or servant of the company or be an employee or partner of such persons. When all such forms have been filled satisfactorily and relevant fees paid, a Certificate of Incorporation and a Certificate to Commence Business are issued.

Step 2: Registration with the the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC)

The GIPC is responsible for registering all enterprises in Ghana. Investors are required to complete Investor Registration Forms (Form GIPC/R1) in triplicate. Within five (5) days from the date of orderly receipt of these forms (and its attachments), the GIPC will formally register the investment.

Laws and Regulations

Business and the Law

Business law conforms to international norms and is based on a framework of legislation relating to business activity, copyrights, patents, trademarks, disputes and labour relations. Ghana subscribes to a number of international conventions on industrial and intellectual property. There are numerous public sector agencies as well as private legal, business consulting and accounting firms, which can provide expert guidance on doing business in Ghana.

The key investment related legislation in Ghana is the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act 2013, Act 865. There is also a Technology Transfer Regulations, 1992, LI 1547

Labor and Employment

The Labour Act 651 of 2003 regulates employment and labour issues in Ghana. This Act consolidates all laws relating to labour, employers, trade unions and industrial relations.

The current minimum wage is at GHS 7.00 per day since 2015.

Foreign companies registered with the GIPC are obliged to abide by the labor legislation in the country.

Bilateral Agreements

Swiss investors interested in doing business in Ghana shall benefit from the incentives stipulated in both the Bilateral and Double Taxation agreements between Ghana and Switzerland.

Investment Guarantees

The Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act, 2013 (Act 865), provides guarantees including prohibition against discrimination and expropriation to all enterprises. Subject to the Foreign Exchange Act, 2006 (Act 723) and the Regulations and Notices issued under the Foreign Exchange Act, an enterprise is guaranteed free transferability through any authorized dealer bank in freely convertible currency of dividends or net profits attributable to a foreign investment; payments in respect of loan servicing where a foreign loan has been obtained; fees and charges in respect of a technology transfer agreement registered under this Act and remittance of proceeds (net of all taxes and other obligations) in the event of sale or liquidation of the enterprise or any interest attributable to the investment.

Investment Incentives

Tax holidays (from start of operation, may change)

Real Estate - 5 years
Rural Banks - after 10 years tax holiday 8%
Cattle Ranching - 10 years
Tree cropping (e.g. coffee, oil palm, shea-butter and coconut) - 10 years
Livestock excluding cattle and poultry - 5 years
Fish farming, poultry and cash crops - 5 years
Agro-Processing (converting fish, livestock into edible canned products) - 5 years
Waste processing (including plastics and polythene) - 7 years
Free Zone Enterprise/Development - after 10 years of operation 8%

Important Legislations

Potential investors as well as businesses operating in Ghana need to be familiar with the following Legislations:-

The Companies Act, 1963 (Act 179)
Ghana Free Zones Act, 1995 (Act 505)
The Internal Revenue Act, 2000 (Act 592)
Fisheries Act, 2002 (Act 625)
Forestry Commission Act, 1999 (Act 571)
National Communications Authority Act, 1996 (Act 542)
Petroleum (Exploration & Production) Law, 1984 (PNDCL 84)
The Minerals Commission Act, 1993 (Act 450)
The VAT Act, 1998 (Act 546)
Banking Law, 1989 (PNDCL 225)
Environmental Conservation Act
The Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651)
The Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651)
Foreign Exchange Act, 2006 (Act 723)

Ghana Immigration Service

The Ghana Immigration Service has been established as the agency of the government of Ghana to advise on and to ensure the effective implementation of all laws and regulations pertaining to immigration and related issues. The Ghana Immigration Service is mandated to regulate and monitor the entry, residence, employment and exit of all foreigners. Movement of Ghanaians in and out of the country is equally monitored.

Ghana Free Zones Board

The GFZB was established on 31st August, 1995 by an Act of Parliament to enable the establishment of free zones in Ghana for the promotion of economic development, to provide for the regulation of activities in free zones and for related purposes.

The Ghana Free Zones Programme is designed to promote processing and manufacturing of goods through the establishment of Export Processing Zones (EPZs), and to encourage the development of commercial and service activities at sea- and airport areas. In essence therefore, the whole of Ghana is accessible to potential investors who have the opportunity to use the free zones as focal points to produce goods and services for foreign markets.


Land acquired by foreigners for development or residential has a lease term of maximum (49 years)

Providing customs inquiries for Swiss exporters

The principal legislation on import duties and other import tax is the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (Management) Law, 1993, (PNDCL 330) as amended and its regulations (L.I. 1704).

The law contains the general provisions relating to the imposition of indirect taxes and duties by CEPS and is divided into 19 parts. Relevant parts include the imposition of indirect taxes and duties, penalties relating to offences, motor vehicle importation, loading and exportation of goods and clearance from customs .

The law contains provisions relating to duty drawbacks, refunds of duties and seizure of goods used contrary to purposes stated.

The CEPS Law is relevant to the investor investing under the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act, 1994 (Act 478) (GIPC) as the Act provides for the investor operating under Act 478 to be entitled to all tariff concessions provided under PNDCL 330. These concessions may be found in the Customs Harmonised Commodity and Tariff Code which is a schedule to PNDCL 330. Goods listed under the tariff code are zero-rated and do not attract import duty, import VAT, or import excise duty. These goods include tools and implements, boilers, machinery such as industrial laboratory, and spraying machinery and their parts and other mechanical appliances. Other machinery include agriculture, forestry, earth-moving and machinery used in the paper, textile and construction industries.

Some goods are admissible in Ghana at a concessionary duty rate when imported by an enterprise registered under the GIPC Act. Enterprises include hotels, restaurants and electronic media companies. The rate of duty for raw materials for manufacturing enterprise is 10%.

An enterprise registered under the GIPC Act may apply to the GIPC for tariff concessions not specifically provided by law. It may apply for exemption from import duties, import VAT, import excise duties on plant, machinery and equipment. The Centre may recommend that tariff concessions be granted with the underlying principle of promoting investment.