The 3rd Annual Investment Week Celebrations of the Ghana Free Zones Authority (GFZA) was yesterday climaxed with a Chief Executives Forum in Accra.
It was on the theme,“GFZA: Championing Export-led Industrial Growth in the Context of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement and world trade.”
The forum sought to offer the opportunity for stock taking among industry players and their regulators towards taking key decisions to improve on last year’s performance.
The Senior Advisor to the President on Media Strategic Communications, Ms Oboshie Sai-Coffie speaking at the ceremony commended the free zone enterprises for supporting the government’s export-led industrial growth agenda.
Many positive things she said have been said about the Free Zones Enterprises as a result of their impressive achievements and contributions toward the economic growth of the country and must be congratulated.
“You have created employment, earned Ghana foreign exchange, diversified the range of export products and invested capital in this economy, created jobs indirectly for other companies that supply your inputs, undertake corporate social responsibility projects and more significantly, made it possible for Ghana to be part of the global value chain especially in the cocoa, shea and fruit processing sectors you must be encouraged you to do more, she added.,
Ms Sai-Coffie said world events have shown that the way to go was export-led industrialisation hence the decision of the government to focus on industrialisation.
She assured of the government’s determination to surmount the challenges facing the economy despite the turbulent times adding “we are resolute in our intention to restructure the economy, transform the financial system and bring the economy back on track”.
“We are poised to create a conducive environment for all businesses to thrive in Ghana. I ask that you keep faith with the government and that you use the opportunity to encourage and reassure your management and staff that there are better days ahead that would help us to work better together in other to achieve the recovery we are all seeking,” she said.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen who was the keynote speaker said efforts of the GFZA and its enterprises could not go unnoticed considering the huge capital investment they have made in the country.
He said apart from the job creation and technology transfer, the free zones regime also helped strengthen the economic fibre of the country in the export-led industrial growth, an essential way to move the nation forward.
Mr Kyerematen urged the GFZA to function in their best capacity to expand productivity across all industries, encourage the processing of local agro and other intermediary products as well as create jobs.
He said the time had come for Ghana to take advantage of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) that provided an opportunity for the country to increase its export to other African countries through the creation of a single market thus, boosting intra-African trade. .
The Chief Executive of the GFZA, Mr Michael Oquaye said the country currently have 217 active free zone enterprises with export earnings over US$27 billion, employing about 33,000 people directly with over 31,000 being Ghanaians.
BY LAWRENCE VOMAFA-AKPALU