Free zones, the world over, has been the main game-changer in transforming a lot of economies, especially in the The United Arab Emirates (UAE) where Jabal Ali turned the whole country upside-down. Free zones is for economic growth and economic development, Mr Michael Okyere Baafi, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Free Zones Authority (GFZA), has said.
UAE has the second-largest economy in the Arab world (after Saudi Arabia), with a gross domestic product (GDP) of USD 414 billion (AED 1.52 trillion) in 2018. A third of the GDP is from oil revenues.
Speaking on Accra-based Class FM, Mr Okyere Baafi said: “We have to look at the holistic benefits, we should not only look at the government gaining money or gaining revenue. But we have to also look at other things the state is benefiting [from] in the form of skills transfer, knowledge transfers; these are things that cannot be quantified.”
“The truth of the matter is that free zones, the world over, has been the main game-changer in transforming a lot of economies, especially in the UAE where Jabal Ali turned the whole country upside-down. Free zones is for economic growth and economic development”, he emphasised.
The Ghana Free Zones is the only free zones in the Africa region that is not being funded by the state, CEO of the Ghana Free Zones Authority (GFZ), Mr Michael Okyere Baafi, has said.
He said this makes it difficult to rub shoulders with their counterparts in the sub region who are being funded by their states.
“The truth of the matter is that Ghana’s free zones incentives are not lucrative as far as the sub-region is concerned. I’m an executive member of the African Free Zones Organisation. I served on the board in the sub-region.
“I think I will be the tall person amongst all of them in terms of clout, a West African executive representing the African Free Zones organisation.
“And I’m telling you the truth: Ghana’s free zones incentive is not the most lucrative. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t even come near to that of Cote d’lvoire which is our neighbour. For me, it’s just misconceptions; people just have this mindset and they don’t know the reality. So, they need to be told the reality”.
He added: “Ghana’s free zones is the only free zones in the Africa region here that is not being funded by the state. That is another thing we must look at.
“We cannot compare ourselves with these people. What they do and the benefit they get. We have to generate our own money, small money to develop the free zones, which is creating a lot of problems for us as far as expanding our frontiers is [concerned] and also doing more”.
“Looking at the other countries, they are doing more because their governments are supporting them.”