Business and the Law
Business law conforms to international norms and is based on a framework of legislation relating to business activity, copyrights, patents, trademarks, disputes and labour relations. Ghana subscribes to a number of international conventions on industrial and intellectual property. There are numerous public sector agencies as well as private legal, business consulting and accounting firms, which can provide expert guidance on doing business in Ghana.
Sanctity of contracts ensures respect for commercial rights and obligations. Damages are compensatory, not punitive, and an independent court system ensures equitable protection of rights. Mediation, arbitration and other forms of dispute resolution are routinely used.
The Key Investment related legislation in Ghana is the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act 2013, Act 865. There is also a Technology Transfer Regulations, 1992, LI 1547
Businesses operating in Ghana need to be familiar with the following Legislations:-
The Companies Act, 1963 (Act 179)
Ghana Free Zones Act, 1995 (Act 505)
The Internal Revenue Act, 2000 (Act 592)
Fisheries Act, 2002 (Act 625)
Forestry Commission Act, 1999 (Act 571)
National Communications Authority Act, 1996 (Act 542)
Petroleum (Exploration & Production) Law, 1984 (PNDCL 84)
The Minerals Commission Act, 1993 (Act 450)
The VAT Act, 1998 (Act 546)
Banking Law, 1989 (PNDCL 225)
Environmental Conservation Act
The Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651)
Foreign Exchange Act, 2006 ( Act 723)
Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act, 2013 (Act 865), provides guarantees including prohibition against discrimination and expropriation to all enterprises. Subject to the Foreign Exchange Act, 2006 (Act 723) and the Regulations and Notices issued under the Foreign Exchange Act, an enterprise is guaranteed free transferability through any authorized dealer bank in freely convertible currency of dividends or net profits attributable to a foreign investment; payments in respect of loan servicing where a foreign loan has been obtained; fees and charges in respect of a technology transfer agreement registered under this Act and remittance of proceeds (net of all taxes and other obligations) in the event of sale or liquidation of the enterprise or any interest attributable to the investment.
MIGA, IPPA and DTA
Ghana is a member of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) of the World Bank, which provides investment guarantees against non-commercial risk for investments in developing countries. Additionally, the Government has entered into bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (IPPAs), as well as double taxation treaties with a number of countries to further enhance the protection and security of the investment regime.
President John Dramani Mahama, on 7th January 2013 promised that, as the President of Ghana he will work hard to place the nation on the right path by leading the country to overcome the hurdles and past obstacles that have threatened it from meeting it goals.
In delivering his state of the nation address he mentioned that partnership with the private sector has brought accelerated growth and development of the economy. To deepen the implementation of the Private Sector Development Strategy (PSDS) II, The president has inaugurated a Private Sector Advisory Council under his chairmanship to cover all major aspect of private sector development. He asserted that as a policy he is requesting his public officials to give priority to the Ghanaian Private sector in goods and service where they are competitive in value, quality and delivery.
Ghana improved from the 92nd position in 2009 to the 63rd in 2012 on the World Banks “Ease of Doing Business Index” as it witnessed impressive development in roads and social infrastructure in the last two decades with a private sector playing a pivotal role. The Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), he said was in the process of transformation to meet the challenges of the 21st Century Investor. He stated that a well designed and efficient public sector working in partnership with a private sector will be instrumental in its objectives to deliver a prosperous nation. He again mentioned that his administration will pursue economic development with a sense of urgency in order to create new jobs particularly for the youth and in partnership with the private sector, expand its infrastructure in a manner that will accelerate economic growth.