President Akufo-Addo has assured the business community in China that their preferred investment destination in Africa should be Ghana.
He explained that this is because the country “is a haven of peace, security and stability, and because she protects legitimate investments.”
Speaking at the Ghana-China Investment Forum Wednesday, in Shangdong Province, he urged the Chinese business community to take advantage of the growing business-friendly climate in the country to invest in Ghana.
“Our flagship agricultural programme, “Planting for Food and Jobs”, our renewable energy sector and ICT growth are all areas of considerable opportunity.
"These are all sectors you can profitably partner with Ghanaian companies, some of whose representatives have come all the way from Ghana to be here with me,” he said.
Having taken the decision to “walk hand-in-hand with China and her business community, because we desire to walk far”, President Akufo-Addo told the gathering that China has, since 2015, been Ghana’s largest trading partner, with total trade amounting to some $6.7 billion in 2017.
Governor of Shangdong Province
However, with the majority of exports from Ghana to Shangdong, for example, being crude oil, bauxite and its concentrates, sawn timber, i.e. raw materials, the President told the Chinese business community that “we want to stop being mere producers and exporters of raw materials, and, thereby, deal with China, and, indeed, Shangdong province, on the basis of things we make.”
It is for this reason that he commended to Chinese business community his government’s flagship policy of “1-District-1-Factory”.
“Thus far, companies that have established factories in Ghana, under this policy, are importing machinery and equipment duty-free, are not paying import duty on raw materials imported for production, and are enjoying a corporate income tax holiday for five years,” the President said.
He indicated that, additionally, the Trade Ministry has attached two technical experts to provide free advisory services to these companies.
Touching on the country’s infrastructural deficit, President Akufo-Addo said his government is embarking on an aggressive public private partnership programme to attract investment in the development of both the country’s road and railway infrastructure.
“We are hopeful that, with solid private sector participation, we can develop a modern railway network with strong production centre linkages and with the potential to connect us to our neighbours to the north, i.e. Burkina Faso, to the west, i.e. Cote d’Ivoire, and to the east, i.e. Togo,” he said.
The President continued, “We believe that this is an area where Chinese technology and expertise would be very welcome, and we are happy to note that some important Chinese companies are, in fact, making efforts to enter the rail sector of our economy.
"We will know the result shortly, but I am confident that there will be Chinese participation in the development of the Ghanaian rail sector.”
He told the business community that there are several projects in roads, water, housing, transport, industry, manufacturing, agriculture, petroleum and gas, the exploitation of Ghana’s mineral wealth of bauxite, iron ore and gold, amongst others, which are being structured to attract private sector financing.
President Akufo-Addo, thus, urged them to invest in Ghana either through the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre or set up as a Free Zones enterprise.
“Regardless of where the investment is, government has instituted a number of incentives for the investor, depending on the nature of the activity, or the location of the investment,” the President added.
These incentives, he said, include exemption from payment of import duty for plant and machinery; 25 per cent tax rebate for companies located in regional capitals; 50 per cent tax rebate for companies investing outside regional capitals in the regions; and 0% corporate tax for ten (10) years, and, thereafter, 8% for companies in the Free Zones enclave.
President Akufo-Addo, in conclusion, stressed to the Chinese business community “in future, when you are deciding to invest in any part of the world, certainly in Africa, Ghana should be your preferred investment destination.
“As I have said, we are keen on establishing a business-friendly economy to attract foreign direct investments to exploit our country’s great potential on mutually satisfactory terms. I can assure you, once again, that your investments will be protected in fact and in law.”