BUSINESS REGISTRATION WITH THE GIPC AS A FOREIGN INVESTOR
The Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) is a government agency established under GIPC Act 865, 2013 to promote, coordinate and facilitate investment in all sectors of the Ghanaian economy.
The functions of the GIPC cover investment advisory services, joint venture search, identification of specific projects for investment promotion, grant of investment incentives and provision of investor support services, registration of technology transfer agreements and negotiation of bilateral investment treaties.
According to section 24 of the GIPC Act, all businesses with foreign participation are required to register with the GIPC.
Steps to Registering your Business at GIPC
1. Business Registration
The first step in starting a business in Ghana is to legally register the business entity at the Registrar General’s Department (RGD). With the automation at the Registrar General’s Department (RGD), business registration has become fairly easy.
All business registration forms are downloadable at http://rgd.gov.gh/index.php/forms/ or on-sale at GHS 10.00 at the RGD.
In choosing your business activities during company registration, take note as a foreigner that, the following business activities are reserved for Ghanaians according to the laws of Ghana.
- Sale of goods or provision of services in a market, petty trading or hawking or selling of goods in a stall at any place.
- Operation of taxi or car hire service with less than 25 vehicles
- Operation of a beauty salon or a barber shop
- Printing of recharge scratch cards for the use of subscribers of telecommunication services
- Production of exercise books and other basic stationery
- Retail of finished pharmaceutical products
- Production, supply and retail of sachet water
- Pool betting business and lotteries, except football pool
- Small scale mining (less than 50 acres mining concession)
- Small scale fishing (using small vessels)
The company registration process takes about 2 weeks, after which the following documents will be issued by the Registrar, confirming the legal status of the company.
- Certificate of incorporation
- Certificate of commencement ` `
- Form 3 & 4
- Company regulations
2. Minimum Capital requirement
The investment law of Ghana stipulates minimum foreign equity contribution for all foreigners seeking to do business in Ghana. The minimum foreign equity can be in the form of cash or in-kind (capital goods, equipment, machinery etc.). Below are various categories of minimum capital requirements;
Equity contribution in Cash
This option requires the company to open foreign exchange and local currency corporate bank accounts with any of the licensed banks in Ghana. After the account is set-up the foreign shareholders are to remit the required minimum equity into their foreign currency account. The minimum foreign equity that has been transferred must be converted into local currency and then request for a Bank of Ghana Equity confirmation letter from their bankers. The Bank of Ghana Equity confirmation letter is the official proof of cash equity investment in Ghana, which must be obtained by all companies seeking to register their businesses with the GIPC if their equity is cash. The company receives their copy of the Bank of Ghana Equity confirmation letter through their own bankers for onward submission to GIPC for the registration process to commence.
Equity contribution in-Kind
After the company has been registered in Ghana, the foreign shareholders can ship capital goods in the form of raw materials, machinery, equipment, motor vehicles, stock of goods to be sold, office items etc. into Ghana in the name of the incorporated company that seeks to register with GIPC. These goods upon arrival in Ghana, must be cleared from the ports and the original import declaration documents presented to GIPC as proof of equity investment. The original import declaration documents received from the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) will show relevant information pertaining to name of consignee, value of imported goods, description of items, declaration number, date, exchange rate etc. which will enable the GIPC record and capture the capital goods as equity contribution in favour of the foreign shareholders of the business.
The following activities are however exempted from the minimum capital requirement;
- 100% Ghanaian owned enterprises
- Export trade
- Free zones activities
- Portfolio investments
3. GIPC Business Registration
The first is to register the business with the Registrar General’s Department and subsequently meet the minimum equity requirement in line with the GIPC Act 865 either by cash or in-kind. Once this is done, the 3rd step is to submit the following documents to GIPC for investor registration.
- Certificate of incorporation
- Certificate of business commencement
- Form 3 & 4
- Company regulations
- Proof of equity
- Bank of Ghana Equity confirmation letter for cash equity investment
- Original custom import declaration forms for equity in-kind
- Completed GIPC registration forms in duplicate
- Company regulations of corporate shareholding company if applicable (if the shareholder is a corporate entity)
- Bankers draft in payment of the registration fee
Cost of Business Registration at GIPC
These are the applicable registration fees for the various categories of businesses;
- a) Wholly Ghanaian Owned Business (Trading) – 10,500 cedis
- b) Wholly Ghanaian Owned Business (Others) – 1,050 cedis
- c) Joint-venture (i.e. $200,000 minimum foreign equity) – 10,500 cedis
- d) Wholly Foreign (i.e. $500,000 minimum foreign equity) – 16,800 cedis
- e) Manufacturing/Export Trading – 21,000 cedis
- f) General Trading (i.e. $1,000,000 minimum foreign equity) – 31,500 cedis
- g) Renewal (Every 2 years) – Joint Venture & Foreign Owned – 2,730 cedis
- h) Renewal (Every 2 years) – Wholly Ghanaian Owned – 630 cedis
- i) Liaison Office – 42,000 cedis
Benefits and Incentives for Registering with GIPC
Investment incentives include;
- Automatic immigrant quotas based on your investment threshold
- Exemption from payment of import duties on core machinery, equipment for the project
- Tax rebates and tax holidays depending your business activity
- Locational incentives
Enterprises that are fully Ghanaian owned are eligible to access all the investment incentives and benefits.
Registration with the GIPC is easy!
The process takes 5 workings days once all documentation is in order and the registration fee dully paid.
We will be happy to know of your experience regarding the GIPC registration.