Business News of 2013-12-09

Investors to operate duty-free shops at country’s borders

Duty Free Alliance Limited, a partnership between Ghanaian investors and Duty Free Holding International, will build and operate duty-free retail shops at the country’s borders at Aflao (Togo border), Elubo (Côte D’Ivoire), and Paga (Burkina Faso).

A duty-free shop is a retail outlet that is exempt from the payment of certain local or national taxes and duties, on the basis that goods will be sold to travellers who will take them out of the country.

According to Viktor Molnar, a representative of Duty Free Alliance Limited, the shops will provide shopping convenience for passengers and serve as a vehicle to strengthen bilateral relations with neighbours, promote tourism, encourage the consumption of locally-made products and provide employment to the local people.

He said Ghana’s stable democratic environment and the positive economic outlook naturally make the country an attractive place for business and leisure in sub-Saharan Africa, adding that the volume of foreigners using Ghana’s borders either for transit, business or leisure is bound to increase.

“These foreigners will spend money, and the development of more duty-free shopping options is one way of affecting the purchasing decisions of these foreigners. A well-positioned duty-free shop can be used to promote local products and influence Customs revenues.

“Aside from our resolve to meet all legal commitments necessary to obtain endorsement, we also hereby offer to improve drastically the infrastructure and service levels at the border crossing territories. We intend to provide expertise and border checkpoint governance as well as new cabins for the customs and immigration officers on duty next to our shop.

“Ghana stands to benefit significantly from this project. Aside fromcreating huge direct and indirect employment for the people, this project will pay appropriate taxes to the state. The project will also, undoubtedly, improve the shopping experience for travellers,” he said. The project is expected to be completed by early 2014.

The Deputy Minister of the Volta Region, Francis Ganyaglo, said development of the country needs collaborative efforts between government and the private sector, so a project like this is commended by government.

He urged custom officers to give investors the necessary support to build the shops as soon as possible, “because it is a good project that will create jobs for the people and enhance trade”.

The Sector Commander of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Ben Beckley, said GRA will give them the needed support to ensure they operate successfully.