Assessing the implementation of the free zones policy in Ghana

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The Government of Ghana has sought to facilitate an increased in the exports of the economy and job creation through export processing zones. To that end it has introduced certain economic measures as well as physical, administrative and legal facilities. The FZs policy can be said to have been successful in terms of its major objectives that are export earnings, and job creation. The same can be said of enterprise participation, capital inflow and linkages with domestic economy. However, our findings also reveal some weaknesses in the policy as well as its implementation. First, the policy did not provide incentives regarding location of enterprises and the use of local raw materials. Second, no training facility was provided for customs officers assigned to the FZs. Third, the problem of land acquisition was not tackled. So was the problem of tariff discrimination on exports from Ghana’s FZs to Francophone countries within the ECOWAS sub-region. A review of EPZ schemes in Nigeria and Mauritius reveal other shortcomings of Ghana’s policy. Prefinancing facilities in the EPZs in Nigeria and cost containing policy of those in Mauritius made Ghana’s EPZ less competitive. On the basis of the above findings, the present study makes recommendations as follows; Provision of training facilities for customs officers, creation and strengthen of linkages, pre-financing facilities and finally the use of FZs as an instrument of human settlement by providing deliberate locational tax incentives which ensure an even distribution of population and resources.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of the Degree of Master of Arts in Industrial Management, 1999