Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Ghana threatens to revoke investment licences

Ghana threatens to revoke investment licences
By Kabanda Chulu in Accra, Ghana
Wednesday September 05, 2007 [03:00]

GHANA Investment Promotions Centre (GIPC) chief executive officer Robert Ahomka-Lindsay yesterday threatened to revoke licences of foreign investors who flout the investment laws. He said some investors from China, India and Lebanon were flouting and contravening the investment law through engaging more expatriates to work for them.

Announcing the closure of seven foreign businesses and trading outlets in Makola and Kantamanto centres the equivalent of Comesa or Kamwala markets in Accra, Ahomka-Lindsay said GIPC was strictly enforcing sections of the law that reserve certain areas of investment and trading for Ghanaians only.

He said GIPC was working in collaboration with the Ghana Union of Traders Associations and city authorities to extend the exercise to all parts of the country.

“If need arises, licences will be revoked but the enforcement will continue and will be extended to all parts of the country because we want to see more Ghanaians to be employed in line with the rationale for every foreign direct investment everywhere in the World and from now on foreign investors will only be allowed to bring in extra workers if it is proved that they cannot be found in Ghana,” Ahomka-Lindsay said.

According to the investment centre promotion Act of 1994 cap 478, foreign investments worth between US$10,000 and less than US$100,000 or its equivalent in cedis (local currency) shall be entitled to one immigrant or expatriate, between US$ 100,000 and less than US$ 500,000 shall be entitled to a quota of two immigrants and a maximum of four immigrants if the investment is over US$ 500,000.

However, Ahomka-Lindsay explained that discretion would be granted to investors who need genuine expatriates that could not be found in the country so long there was a transfer of skills to Ghanaians within the shortest possible time.

“We are flexible in some cases especially if it is proved that the skills needed are not readily available in the country, we do allow the investor to bring in more than the required quota so long there is a quick transfer of skills to Ghanaian in the shortest possible time,” said Ahomka-Lindsay. “But others are overstepping the limit and we are going to revoke their licences, just last week we closed down seven enterprises because some foreign investors especially those of Asian origins have grossly violated the investment laws with certain companies having as many as 35 expatriates working for them.”

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