Michael Okyere Baafi, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Free Zones Authority (GFZA), on Tuesday said the Authority intends to build a state-of-the-art Export Processing Zones (EPZ) and Multipurpose Industrial Parks in Shama and Takoradi.
The two facilities are expected to support light and heavy industrial Oil and Gas specific businesses. Currently, two Industry-Dedicated-Sites have been allocated for these projects, Mr Okyere Baafi told the Ghana News Agency in an interview.
The interview, which focused on how the Free Zones Authority intended to attract oil and gas downstream businesses and the motive for setting up GFZA Oil and Gas Unit.
He explained that the authority had already acquired sites at Shama and Sekondi close to the Takoradi port. The rational for such projects is to house the anchor clients targeted for the industry.
Mr Okyere Baafi said Shama was a strategic location for the establishment of a distribution hub to service Oil and Gas projects in Ghana (Onshore and Offshore) and throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
He said the intention of the Authority is to make it a high-speed Oil and Gas Service Centre, which was targeted at helping both foreign and local companies to implement its projects and reduce cost for their cargo handling, equipment, shipping and paperwork processing in a safe and efficient manner.
He disclosed that an American company (Black Ivy Group) has acquired 400 acres for the development of an industrial park, “GFZA is looking for other investors interested in developing the enclave”.
On the Sekondi Export Processing Zones’ project, he said it was to position Ghana as a leading hub for downstream Oil and Gas manufacturing and industrial activities in the sub-region.
The Sekondi project was designated to evolve into a key Petrochemical, fertilizer, refinery and hydrocarbon processing hubs in Africa. These intended projects will facilitate the development of a world class export-oriented Oil and Gas processing centre in Ghana.
Mr Okyere Baafi said Ghana as an emerging Oil and Gas producer with enormous potential, it was paramount for the GFZA to set up the Oil and Gas Unit to promote and facilitate the investment opportunities available in downstream export-oriented oil and gas related activities.
He said with the growing demand for oil and gas and its ancillary products as well as benefits in the form of foreign exchange, the Authority sought to explore and take maximum benefits and potentials of the sector in order to attract export-oriented manufacturing, oil and gas project and service providers in the sector.
“The idea of an Oil and Gas unit within the structure of Ghana Free Zones Authority is a well-developed strategy of creating tax incentives for foreign and indigenous oil and gas service companies.
“This is intended to attract foreign direct investment as well as encourage local participation,” he said.
The GFZA Chief Executive said the authority sought to attract companies that manufacture petroleum products, oil and gas projects and service companies onto the Free Zone regime.
“The Authority is poised to create an enabling environment for the development of local content and enhance the long-term objectives for export-oriented oil and gas projects,” he said.
On how to avoid overlapping and indulging in works of already established entities, Mr Okyere Baafi said the Authority would collaborate with Ghana National Petroleum Commission (GNPC), National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Ministry of Energy, Ghana Association of Oil Field Service Providers, Environmental Protection Agency and Ghana Revenue Authority.
He said GFZA operates assiduously within its own mandate as well as other regulations that have direct bearing on the operation of FZEs such as the GRA etc. to ensure that operators were not able to exploit the system.