Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the questions Ghanaian exporters commonly ask us. For further information, please contact GEPC. You may also download our summary of Trade Secrets Ghana – The Export Answer Book.

Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) is the National Export Trade Support Institution, facilitating the development and promotion of Ghana’s Non-Traditional Exports.

It was established by NLCD 369 in 1969 as an agency of the Ministry of Trade and Industry with the mandate to develop and promote Ghanaian exports. The focus of GEPA has primarily been to diversify Ghana’s export base from the traditional export products of Gold, Cocoa Beans, Timber Logs and Lumber and Electricity. Currently, there are over 383 different non-traditional Export products categorized into Agricultural, Processed/semi Processed and Handicrafts.

GEPA is positioned in the national export system as a coordinating pivot for the various public and private sector trade agencies involved in trade development and facilitation.

All export commodities in Ghana have been categorized into two main groups: Traditional Exports and Non-traditional. The traditional export products are

  • Mineral ore such as unprocessed gold,
  • Cocoa Beans,
  • Timber Logs and Lumber
  • Fresh fish
  • Fresh yam

Non –traditional exports are all other products outside the above list of traditional export products. They are categorized into Agricultural, Processed/semi Processed, Handicrafts and Services exports

An exporter must first of all register his business with the Registrar General’s Department. Then he registers with GEPA with the following requirements:

For a Limited Liability Company:

  1. A Certificate of Incorporation
  2. A Certificate to Commence Business
  • The Company’s Regulation Code
  1. Tax Identification Number (TIN)
  2. E-mail address

For Sole Proprietorship/ Enterprise

  1. A Certificate of Registration
  2. Form A
  • E-mail address

ETLS is ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme. It a scheme drawn up by member states of ECOWAS to eliminate tariff and non-tariff measures that obstruct the free flow of goods in the sub-region.

A manufacturer who wants to export within West African Sub-region and enjoy the benefits of the ETLS must after registering with GEPA, fulfill the following requirements:

  • Obtain an ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme Registration Form GEPA
  • Return the completed forms to GEPA for onward forwarding to the Secretariat in Abuja for approval.

An Exporter registering for the first time is advised to state the names of future products to be produced. If this is not done, the exporter will have to apply for the scheme for each separate product that is produced in future.

GEPA is a statutory body set up by NLCD 396 under the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI) to develop and promote Ghana’s exports. On 7th April 2000, MOTI issued an administrative directive to ALL EXPORTERS to register with GEPA. The objectives of the registration exercise are as follows:-

  • To build a database that will facilitate the collection of up-to-date information on exports and exporters for the provision of appropriate assistance programmes (both national and international) for export companies;
  • The matching of exporters with foreign buyers and other business interests;
  • To monitor the performance of exporters for purposes of export support schemes, awards and selection and recommendation for other enhanced facilities/incentives provided by GEPA and other export-related institutions;
  • To give due regard to recognizable and reliable export companies to be carried in national export drive programmes;
  • To provide the basis for strengthening private sector product associations

The registration is renewable on an annual basis and it constitutes the first step in the system designed to improving the monitoring of Ghana’s.

  • Register with the Ghana Export Promotion Authority and obtain the following:
  • Instruction for Dispatch of Goods (IDG) from the Airline
  • Packing List
  • Invoice
  • Certificate of Origin
    * EUR 1 Certificate to ACP Countries
    * Generalised System of Preference (GSP) Form to the United States and Non-ACP Countries
  • Requisite Permits / Certificates

There are various export permit/certificates to be obtained, depending on the product to be exported

  • Antiques
    • Ghana Museum and Monuments Board. If the items are made from animal parts, obtain permit from Department of Game and wildlife
    • Cocoa Beans – Fumigation and Quality Assurance by Control Division of Ghana Cocoa Marketing Board (COCOBOD)
    • Sawn Lumber – Permit by Forestry Commission (TIDD)
  • Mineral Ore – Permit by Minerals Commission
  • Manufactured/Processed Goods – Ghana Standards Authority Certificate
  • Fresh/Processed Fish – Ghana Standards Authority Quality Assurance Certificate
  • Coffee, Shea-nuts & Cashew nuts – COCOBOD Quality Assurance Certificate
  • Food/Agric. Products (e.g. yam, pineapple, plantain, palm oil, etc.) – Phyto-sanitory Certificate (PPRS)
  • Rock & Rock samples – Geological Survey Department Certificate
  • Wildlife e.g. reptiles, etc. Permit from Dept. of Game & Wildlife
  • Pets – Veterinary Services of Min. of Food & Agriculture (MOFA)
  • Chemicals – Certificate from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Pharmaceuticals – Min. of Health (MOH) & Food & Drugs Authority (FDa)
  • Palm Oil- Food & Drugs board
  • Charcoal- Energy Commission
  • Antique – Museum & Monuments Board permit
  • Human remains – Certificate from the Births & Deaths Registry
  • Timber & Wood products – Forestry Commission permit (TIDD)
  • Wildlife (Department of Game and Wildlife);
  • Live Plants (Ministry of Agriculture);
  • Dangerous Weapons (Ministry of Interior).
  • Where GCNet/GCMS is operational, the declaration would be submitted electronically.
  • If the declaration is validated/accepted, the exporter is directed to present his goods to Customs to be examined physically against the documents.
  • Where GCNet/GCMS is not operational purchase a set of Ghana Customs Non-Traditional Export Forms at any Customs post.
  • Complete the form (typed or hand-written) and attach all relevant documents, such as invoice (where necessary), permit or certificates; and present to customs for processing.
  • If Customs is satisfied with the examination, the goods are released for export.

Under the laws of Ghana, the following items are prohibited exports:

    • Narcotics
    • Parrots
    • Ghanaian currency in excess of ¢5000.00
    • Round logs (12 species)
    • Rattan Canes & Bamboo
    • Obscene / Pornographic Materials

Goods prohibited by any other laws

Art Work of contemporary conception, design and Production:

Paintings, Carvings and Sculptures made of Wood, Fabric, Metal, Stone and Jewelry.

All types of Baskets made of Straw (Bolga)

  • Wicket, Rattan, Palm, Branch Strips, Slat, Bast Fiber, etc. of recent manufacture. Articles made of Straw Raffan, Kenaf, Bamboo, Raffia and Willow.
  • Drums and Musical Instruments, examples:
    Drums, Xylophones, Flutes, Maracas, Castanets (Thumb Bells), Musical Instruments of contemporary production and manufacture.
  • Garments of all types and made from all kinds of material, clearly of contemporary design and fabrication.
  • Footwear – Sandals, Shawls, Leggings, Boots in Leather of other fabrics – contemporary design and production. Leather goods of contemporary production.

Print – Type simulated Kente, and all objects made of it, such as Hand Bags, Purses, Jackets, Anoraks, etc. Woven Kente of recent manufacture in all forms of usage and applications, from neckties through traditional wear outfits. All items of the Royalty and Chiefly regalia. Kente accessories, Kente Strips, KenteStoles, Kente Bags, Kente Head Bands, Kente Earings, Kente Ties and Cummerbands, Kente Garments, KenteFootwear, Kente Caps, Kente Bracelet

  • Packing List: Itemizes the contents of each package in an export consignment and indicated the type of packaging used. Should indicate weights, measurements, and other details of each package. It can be attached to the outside of a package in waterproof material. A Packing List is also necessary for obtaining insurance for your shipment.
  • Ghana Export Form: All non-traditional exporters are required to complete a Ghana Export Form, obtainable from the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
  • Commercial Invoice: A bill from the exporter to the importer for the goods consigned. A good commercial invoice should have information on the quantity, description and price per unit of the goods, total price, payment terms, name and address of the buyer, and the exporter’s address.
  • Customs Entry Form: Obtainable from the GRA- Customs Division, and carries information on the consignee’s (buyer) name and address, the exporter’s particulars, carrier of the goods, and description of the goods including the harmonised code.
  • Certificate of Origin: A Certificate of Origin is a document that accompanies an export to provide proof of the source of a product or extent of processing for determination of tariffs. As a member of the WTO, Ghana enjoys preferential rated for its exports and the only way for the preference to be given is the possession by the exporter of a Certificate of Origin. The preference varies from one trading bloc to the other:
    • EUR1 – European Union. The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) now governs our trade with the European Union.
    • GSP – U.S.A., Japan, Canada, Switzerland, etc.
    • AGOA Visa – U.S.A.

Because Ghana enjoys preferential treatment under a number of international trade agreements, it is important to include a Certificate of Origin. This document can be obtained from the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

  • Certificate of Health / Phytosanitary Certificate: Issued by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture at exit points and usually required for the export of food or drinks. Fish exports to the European Union are however an exception. In their case, Certificates of Health can only be obtained from the Ghana Standards Authority.

 

  • Certificate of Inspection: Some buyers or importing countries require certificates attesting to the quality and price of goods shipped, and this is usually done by specialised independent inspection agencies. Where such inspection is required, insist that your buyer bear the cost of inspection. SGS, Inchcape, Cotecna, and BIVAC International are examples of inspection agencies in Ghana.

 

  • Bill of Lading: A contract between the exporter and the shipper for the transportation of goods. They may be negotiable or non-negotiable. Negotiable Bills of Lading have monetary value and can even be sold before the goods reach their destination (with original copies only). Bills of Lading also provide proof of ownership of goods and describe the goods being shipped.
  • Air Waybill: Similar to a Bill of Lading except that it is difficult to use as a title document, and therefore has no monetary value. Importers can clear the goods from the airport even without the original Air Waybill.
  • Game and Wildlife Certificate: Issued by the Department of Game and Wildlife and required for the export of all wild animals.

 

  • Forest Products Inspection Bureau (FPIB) Permit: Required for the export of all wood products.

 

  • Certificate of Insurance: Issued once you have insured your goods, and indicates the type and amount of coverage. Like the Bill of Lading, the insurance certificate is a negotiable document and therefore has monetary value.

GEPA in close collaboration with other export-related institutions plays a crusading role in the establishment of incentive schemes for exporters, some of which are as follows:-

  • An Export Proceeds Retention Scheme. This allows exporters to exchange all (i.e. 100%) foreign exchange proceeds from non-traditional exports into cedis at competitive rates negotiated with the exporters’ bankers.
  • A Corporate Tax Rebate which allows any manufacturer or any person engaged in agricultural production, exporting part or all of his production, to claim tax rebate between 40% and 75% of his tax liability.
  • Duty Drawback- This is refund on import duties after the importer re-exports previously importer products- Same-State Drawback. It also a refund of import duties paid on imported raw materials used in the production of finished goods for export- Material Drawback
  • A Bonded Warehousing that allows manufacturers to seek Customs licence to hold imported raw materials intended for manufacturing for export in secured places without payment of duty.
  • Up-front Exemption. This Scheme operates alongside the duty-drawback scheme and allows exporters to enjoy 100% duty exemption on selected imports intended to go into production.

Export products must conform to the health and safety standards of the target market. In Ghana, information on standards can be obtained from:

  • Ghana Standards Authority
  • Food and Drugs Authority
  • Ministry of Food and Agriculture
  • Environmental Protection Agency

Information can also be found online at:

  • Codex Alimentaris of FAO
    fao.org

    Detailed information on production and processing guidelines for the food industry.
  • GlobeFish
    globefish.org

    An FAO initiative, GlobeFish provides information and links to quality standards, and regulations pertaining to labelling, processing and shipping.
  • International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO)
    iso.ch

    Provides information on all national organisations linked to ISA, and how to apply ISO standards to various products.
  • PackInfo-World from the World Packaging Organisation (WPO)
    packaging-technology.com

    Information on packaging norms and standards.

Information on pre-shipment inspection of your exports can be obtained by contacting:

  • Cotecna Inspection SA
    O. Box C2212, Cantonments, Accra, Ghana, Tel : (233-302) 775 698, 302 007
  • Inchcape Testing Services Int.
    O. Box 199, Accra, Ghana Tel: (233-302) 772 072
  • SGS Ghana Ltd.
    O. Box 732, Accra, Ghana, Tel: (233-302) 773994-5
    Fax: (233-21) 739 986

BIVAC International

Yes GEPA offers various export programmes and services to assist a wide range of Ghanaian exporters, new to exporting or experienced exporters interested in expanding into new markets. These are:

  • Market access and penetration missions, Contact Promotion Programmes, Trade Fairs and exhibitions, Buyer-Seller meetings and Conferences, Group-marketing schemes etc.
  • Organization of contract production/supply schemes, establishment of Export Production Village Schemes, technical advisory services to facilitate product and market development as well as supply chain management.
  • Provision of Trade information.
  • An Export School that organizes product, market and specialized trade development courses for export companies, trade facilitating agencies and businesses. The Ghana Export School delivers the training in Fundamentals in Export Marketing.  This programme designed to introduce small and medium-sized companies to the basics of exporting. There are also other specializes programmes for other members of the exporter community.

You may visit GEPA for information on this or see Information Sources or Industry Associations. There are a number of industry and sector associations whose members are exporters. Contact them and ask for a list of recommended companies that can meet your purchasing requirements.

  • europages.com
    European Business Directory
  • kompass.com
    Kompass International Database
  • fita.org
    The Federation of International Trade Associations provides an online database of trade leads. Browse existing leads from around the world or post your offer to buy or sell a particular product.
  • alibaba.com
    An online worldwide company directory and provides a searchable database of potential trade leads. Also provides a list of trade shows and events.
  • go4worldbusiness.com
    Provides a worldwide list of buyers and suppliers, listed by product type. Over 150,000 buyers and suppliers can be found.
  • agribusinessonline.com
    Website specialising in market information for the agribusiness sector, developed in partnership with UNCTAD’s International Trade Centre. Features daily prices of fruits and vegetables from 15 terminal markets in North America and Europe.
  • ecplaza.net
    Features an online directory of buyers and sellers, listed by product type or location.