DOING BUSINESS IN GHANA IN 2020
Since 2003, Healy Consultants Group PLC has assisted our Clients with business registration in Ghana. Our services include i) Ghana business registration ii) government license registration iii) corporate bank account opening services in Ghana and abroad iv) employee recruitment v) visa strategies and vi) office rental solutions in Ghana.
Summary table of Ghana company registration
|Summary||Trading LLC||Tax resident LLC||Fast business setup solution||Free zone LLC||Representative office||Branch office||Joint venture|
|Also known as||Onshore company||Onshore company||Shelf company||Free zone company||RO||Branch||Partnership|
|Best use of company?||Trading||All products and services||Close a customer deal now||Manufacturing and export trading||Marketing & research||Specific projects||Professional services|
|How soon can you invoice Clients/sign sales contracts?||4 weeks||4 weeks||2 weeks||4 weeks||4 weeks||4 weeks||4 weeks|
|How soon can you hire staff?||4 weeks||4 weeks||2 weeks||4 weeks||4 weeks||4 weeks||4 weeks|
|How soon can you sign a lease agreement?||1 week||1 week||1 week||1 week||1 week||1 week||1 week|
|How long to supply corporate bank account numbers?||6 weeks||6 weeks||4 weeks||6 weeks||6 weeks||6 weeks||6 weeks|
|How long to supply company registration/tax numbers?||4 weeks||4 weeks||2 weeks||4 weeks||4 weeks||4 weeks||4 weeks|
|Corporate tax rate on annual net profits?||25%||25%||25%||0%||None||25%||25%|
|Limited liability entity?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Government grants/incentives available?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Government approval required for foreign owners?||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Resident director/partner/manager/legal representative required?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Minimum paid up share capital?||US$1,000,000||US$500,000||US$500,000||US$1||None||US$500,000||US$200,000|
|Can bid for Government contracts?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Corporate bank account location?||Bank of Africa||GCB Bank Limited||Ecobank||Barclays||Societe Generale||Standard Chartered||International Commercial Bank|
|Can secure trade finance?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|VAT payable on sales to local customers?||15%||15%||15%||0%||None||15%||15%|
|Average total business set up engagement costs?||US$18,650||US$18,650||Request a proposal||US$23,650||Request a proposal||US$17,300||Request a proposal|
|Average total engagement period?||3 months||3 months||2 months||3 months||3 months||3 months||3 months|
Ghana company registration summary
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Advantages and Disadvantages
Advantages of Ghana company registration
- It is possible to register a limited liability company in Ghana within one month, with the appointment of a minimum of two directors, one of whom must be ordinarily resident in Ghana. Foreigners can either i) form a joint venture with a Ghanaian partner if they invest a minimum of US$10,000 or ii) form a wholly foreign owned company with a minimum investment starting at US$50,000. In both cases, travel to Ghana is not necessary to complete the procedures;
- Ghana is an attractive location for foreigners willing to invest in Sub Saharan Africa because:
- Unlike many of its neighbours, Ghana is politically stable, with a multiparty democracy and regular elections, limiting the risk that a political crisis endangers the economy and assets of foreign investors;
- Ghana has dismantled foreign exchange and capital controls, allowing foreign-owned companies to repatriate freely their earnings abroad as long as this is done through a licensed bank;
- While the economy slowed down in 2013/14, the International Monetary Fund expects economic growth to reach 5.4% in 2020, followed by around 4.6% in 2021, creating important business opportunities;
- Ghana is one of the few sub-Saharan countries attractive for light manufacturing production: it is notably a regional hub for manufacturing of electronic products and manufacturing of automobile parts;
- Ghana has also a well-developed banking industry, enabling local companies to access loans and corporate finance thanks to the presence of several international banks including i) Standard Chartered ii) Societe Generale and iii) EcoBank. Ghana is indeed ranked as the 80th best place in the world for the ease of access to credit by the World Bank.
- Foreigners willing to start a manufacturing unit in Ghana can register their company in a free zone, with the following benefits:
- Companies planning to operate in the Ghana Export Processing Zone of Tema can be registered directly with the Ghana Free Zone Board, enabling them to benefit from fast track registration procedures;
- Eligible companies can operate in a wide range of industries, including i) information and communication technologies ii) textile and apparel manufacturing iii) agro-food processing iv) jewellery and handicraft production v) metal fabrication vi) floriculture vii) assembling and repackaging and viii) pharmaceuticals. They are allowed to sell up to 30% of their products to local customers;
- Tax benefits available for companies registered in the EPZ include: i) corporate tax holidays of up to ten years ii) reduced corporate income tax rate of 8% during up to 10 additional years iii) exemption from custom duties on imports and iv) no withholding tax on dividends remitted abroad.
- The monthly minimum wage in Ghana is US$55, which is extremely low compared to the worldwide minimum wages. As a result, it is very convenient for employers to hire non-expensive labour in Ghana.
Disadvantages of Ghana company registration
- We do not recommend our Clients to set up trading companies targeting the local market in Ghana because:
- Ghana is a small market of only 28 million inhabitants, with a GDP per capita below US$2,210 in 2018. Local customer spending is hence limited;
- In 2013, Ghana was forced to seek a bailout from the IMF due to a currency crisis threatening to turn into a sovereign debt crisis. In 2016, the country is still dependent on IMF assistance, resulting in economic instability;
- Foreign-owned companies willing to trade locally in Ghana are required to have a minimum paid up capital of at least US$300,000;
- Ghana is still implementing import substitution policies, resulting in a fairly high tariffs: average of 9% on manufactured products. Such policies are currently considered as the country is suffering from depreciation of its currency.
- Ghana is famous for its scamming industry. Consequently, banks abroad are usually reluctant to open corporate bank accounts for Ghanaian companies. Customers may also be hesitant to use services from such companies;
- Companies willing to hire foreigners are subject to a quota based on their amount of paid-up capital. Consequently, transferring foreign staff in Ghana can be costly and will also require the hiring of local workers;
- Ghana is unfortunately not a globally competitive nation as it ranks 111th out of 140 countries on the Global Competitiveness Index in 2019. This is largely due to the nation’s poor macroeconomic environment as well as inadequate infrastructural facilities.
Best uses for a Ghana company
- Foreigners willing to register a company in Ghana are usually looking to expand their activity in the cocoa industry, the main cash crop of the country;
- Registration of a company in an export processing zone is also an attractive option for light manufacturing production to be re-exported to neighbour markets.
- Time to incorporate: Four weeks
- Cost to set up: US$18,650
- Minimum capital: US$50,000
- Physical office required: Yes
- Shareholders: 1
- Directors: 2
- Company secretary: Yes
- Resident director: Yes
- Corporate tax rate: 25%
- Corporate tax base: Worldwide
- Shelf companies: Unavailable
- Main company type: Limited company
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Useful links for Ghana
Government and public authority websites:
- Ghana Revenue Authority
- Bank of Ghana
- Ghana Stock Exchange
- Ghana Chamber of Commerce & Industry
- Ghana airports
- PKF – Ghana Tax Guide 2018/19
- PWC – Ghana Tax Facts and Figures 2019
- Corporate Governance and Bank Risk Management in Ghana
- Ghana Investment Policy Review
- Transfer Pricing in Developing Countries – Ghana