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The Ultimate Guide To
Employment in Ghana

Employing in Ghana: What You Need to Know

Ghana has a strong and vibrant labour movement that is very effective in articulating the demands of its workers. The various sectors of the economy are represented by sector labour unions that are affiliated to the national umbrella labour union called the Trades Union Congress (TUC). The main sector of employment is agriculture, which provides employment for more than half the workforce in Ghana.

Key Factors to Consider When Employing in Ghana

The main legislation governing employment relations in Ghana is the Labour Act 2003.

  1. Contracts

    Ghana employment law requires that any workers employed for six months or more must be provided with a written contract of employment.

    The employment contract must include information about the worker and employer, date of appointment, job title, wage rate and payment interval, work hours, overtime payment, annual leave, conditions relating to incapacity for work due to injury or sickness, length of termination notice required by the worker and employer and details of social security or pension scheme.

    The written statement of particulars (containing main terms and conditions of employment) should be provided to a worker within two months of the commencement of employment. The contract must be signed by both parties and dated.

    Fixed-term contract workers

    While the Labour Act allows hiring fixed term contract workers for tasks of permanent nature, it does not specifically refer to any legal regime for the use of fixed-term contracts. Hence, there is no mention of the maximum duration (including renewals) of the fixed term contracts.

    Casual and temporary workers

    A temporary worker is defined as a worker who is employed for a continuous period of at least one month and is not a permanent worker or employed for a work that is seasonal in character; while casual worker is a worker engaged on a work which is seasonal or intermittent and not for a continuous period of more than 6 months and whose remuneration is calculated on a daily basis. A temporary worker who is employed by the same employer for a continuous period of six months and more is treated as a permanent worker.

    While casuals are not required to be provided with a contract of employment for a casual worker may not be written; they still have the right to minimum wage for each working day, overtime and medical facilities.

    Temporary workers are entitled to the Labour Act’s minima in respect of minimum wage, hours of work, rest periods, paid public holidays, night work and sick leave, irrespective of whatever terms agreed by the parties.

    The Constitution also guarantees the right to freedom of association, which it defines to include the right of employees to form or join trade unions or other national or international associations, for the protection of their interests.

    Collective bargaining agreements

    Employees are free to join trade unions of their choice.

    A collective agreement relates to terms and conditions of employment of workers and may be concluded between the trade unions on one hand and representative of one or more employers or employers’ organisations on the other hand. The representatives of the employees may include the following provisions in their collective:

    • The class or category of workers to which it relates
    • The conditions of work, including the hours of work, rest period, meal breaks, annual leave, occupational health and safety measures
    • The remuneration and the method of calculating the remuneration of workers
    • The period of probation and conditions of probation
    • The period of notice of termination of employment, transfer and discipline
    • The procedures for the avoidance and settlement of disputes arising out of the interpretation, application and administration of the agreement
    • The principle of matching remuneration with productivity.

    A concluded agreement between the parties shall be in writing and signed by a duly authorised member of the committee representing each party. Two copies of the agreement shall be filed with the Labour Commission and the Chief Labour Officer.

Employee Entitlements

Information Explanation
Statutory Working Hours ?

The maximum number of working days in Ghana is five. All workers, except domestic workers in private homes and task-based workers, are entitled to forty-eight consecutive hours (2 days) of rest per week. The weekly rest days are usually Saturday and Sunday. Weekly rest period is independent of public holidays.

Apart from weekly rest day, workers are also granted a daily continuous rest of at least twelve hours duration between two consecutive working days. The daily rest in an undertaking operating on a seasonal basis may be of less than ten hours but of not more than twelve hours’ duration over a period of at least sixty consecutive days in the calendar year.

Medical Leave ?

While the Labour Act does not specifically provide for a statutory minimum period for medical leave, employers are still required to pay for medical expenses caused by occupational injury.

 

Annual Leave Accrual Entitlement ?

A worker is entitled to at least 15 working days fully paid annual leave, after completion of 12 months of continuous service.

On termination of employment contract, the worker is entitled to annual leave in proportion to the period of service in the calendar year (except in the case of termination without notice by the employer).

 

Maternity Leave in Ghana ?

Female workers are entitled to 12 weeks (84 days) of maternity leave with full pay. The maternity leave can be extended by two additional (2) weeks in case of caesarean delivery/abnormal birth or twin (or more) births. Extended leave may also be granted in case of illness due to pregnancy or confinement, certified by the medical practitioner. There is no maximum limit of extended leave stipulated in the law.

Probation

Information Explanation
Probation Period ?

The Labour Act does not specifically provide for a maximum duration of probation period.  Instead, it refers to a “reasonable duration determined in advance”. Generally, probationary periods and conditions of probation are provided in collective agreements. Where, as a condition for the engagement of an employee, a contract of employment requires probation, the employment contract has to specify the duration of the probation for the employee.

Using Shield GEO EOR Services: How We Can Help You

Compliance with local employment requirements is just one of the issues foreign companies face when employing staff in Ghana. For companies which intend to employ their staff directly through their incorporated Ghanaian entity, professional legal advice is recommended. Shield GEO provides an alternative path for companies to outsource the employment of their staff in Ghana.

As a Global Employer Organization (GEO), Shield GEO acts as the Employer of Record and ensures the employment is compliant with host country regulations regarding employment. In addition Shield GEO will handle payroll processing, tax and immigration. Using Shield GEO is the fastest and most cost effective way to deploy local and foreign workers into Ghana.

The Shield GEO solution is an attractive alternative where

– the company is looking to employ staff quickly

– the company doesn’t have an appropriately incorporated entity in Ghana

– the company wants to work within a defined budget

– the company wants to limit its initial commitment in Ghana

– the company needs help with tax, employment, immigration and payroll compliance in Ghana

A GEO EOR Solution vs DIY Employment in Ghana

GEO Solutions or DIY Employment

Companies entering Ghana must make a decision whether to use their own resources for a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) approach, or to use a GEO solution to handle payroll and employment responsibilities. A GEO or Ghana Employer of Record solution makes it faster, easier and cheaper to deploy staff if they don’t have a Ghanaian entity established that can run payroll.

A DIY approach will typically take 6-9 months until there is a properly incorporated WFOE ready to run payroll and cost up to 6 figures if registered capital is required. Shield GEO can deploy foreign staff in 4-6 weeks and local staff in 48 hours. Additionally Shield GEO is responsible for all compliance issues related to the employment.

Using Shield GEO Employer of Record Services in Ghana

Payroll

Payroll Ghana
Management Fee for Employer of Record Services / Monthly Payroll Costs

Please contact us for a quote

Notes

Shield GEO pays the employee on a monthly basis, typically on the last working day of the month although we can adapt to your preferred schedule. Income tax and social security (where applicable) are deducted at source and paid to the local tax authorities.

Currency ?

Ghanaian cedi, GHS or GH¢

Tax Amount
Grossed income Tax Rate (%)
0 - GHC 1584 0
GHC 1585 - 2376 5
GHC 2377 - 3480 10
GHC 3481 - 31680 17.5
Above GHC 31681 25

*Non-residents are taxed at a flat rate of 20%.

Tax Returns Supplied

Yes

Corporate Tax Requirements

The Ghanaian tax year is the calendar year. Companies must submit their tax returns within four months from the end of the accounting year.

Tax instalment payments are due by the last day of every quarter (i.e. three- month period) following the accounting year-end of the company.

Employers Social Security and statutory contributions

Employers are required to contribute 13% of the employee’s gross monthly remuneration. For more details, please refer to the section on Employment.

Employees Social Security and statutory contributions

Employees are required to contribute 5.5% of the employee’s gross monthly remuneration. For more details, please refer to the section on Employment.

Payroll and Tax in Ghana

Foreign companies operating in Ghana may find it challenging to deal with the complexities of the country's tax system. The primary concerns for a foreign company that needs to comply with tax laws in Ghana are: Individual income tax (IIT) for employees in Ghana, social security costs, VAT, withholding tax, business tax and permanent establishment concerns.

Your Payroll Options in Ghana

Information Explanation
Remote Payroll ?

A remote payroll in Ghana is where a foreign company, i.e. a non-resident company, payrolls a resident employee in Ghana. This applies to both local and foreign employees. One option for a non-resident company to payroll its employees (local and foreign) in Ghana is to use a fully outsourced service like a GEO or PEO which will employ and payroll the staff on their behalf.

Local Payroll Administration ?

In some cases, a company will register their business in Ghana under one of the forms available but prefer to have another company administer its payroll. This can be accomplished through a payroll provider. It is important to note that the company, as the Employer of Record, is still fully responsible for compliance with employment, immigration, tax and payroll regulations. But the payroll calculations, payments and filings can all be outsourced to the payroll provider.

Internal Payroll ?

Larger companies with a commitment to Ghana may wish to run their own local payroll for all employees, foreign and local. In order to accomplish this, they will have to complete the incorporation, register the business and then hire the necessary staff. There will be a need for in country human resources personnel who have the background needed to manage a Ghanaian payroll and can fulfil all tax, withholding tax and payroll requirements.

This approach carries significant cost and requires some knowledge of local employment and payroll regulations. The company will need a local accounting firm and potentially legal counsel to ensure full compliance with Ghanaian employment laws.

Fully Outsourced Payroll & Employment ?

Companies can outsource the employment and payroll of their staff in Ghana to a GEO, like Shield GEO. This is possible for both foreign workers and Ghanaian nationals. This is the easiest, fastest and safest way to payroll staff in Ghana.

Shield GEO manages all aspects of payroll for workers in Ghana, including taxes, withholding, social security payments and other statutory requirements. Shield GEO becomes the Employer of Record and employs the staff on behalf of the client.

Staff are paid monthly with tax and social security deducted at source and paid to local authorities. Shield GEO will invoice the client monthly in advance of the payroll date. The invoice consists of the Total Cost of Employment (Base salary + Employers Statutory Contributions + Additional statutory contributions) and a Management Fee. Shield GEO provides the employees with payslips.

Read more about outsourced payroll and employment through Shield GEO.

Jump to...

Setting up payroll in Ghana

Information Explanation
National Currency ?

Ghanaian cedi, GHS or GH¢

Tax Figures

Information Explanation
Corporate Income Tax ?

The current corporate income tax rate is 25%. For companies operating in the upstream oil and gas industry, the general corporate income tax rate is 35%.

Income Tax Rate ?
Grossed income Tax Rate (%)
0 - GHC 1584 0
GHC 1585 - 2376 5
GHC 2377 - 3480 10
GHC 3481 - 31680 17.5
Above GHC 31681 25

*Non-residents are taxed at a flat rate of 20%.

Payroll Tax ?

No

Sales Tax ?

VAT is imposed on the supply of taxable goods and services as well as imports in Ghana. Taxable persons charge VAT on their taxable supplies (output tax) and are charged with VAT on goods  which they receive (input tax).

The current standard rate of VAT imposed on taxable goods and services is 15%, with reduced rates available for certain items (0%). In addition, a National Health Insurance Levy of 2.5% is imposed on the supply of goods and services in Ghana and the importation of goods and supply of imported services, bringing the effective VAT rate to 17%.

All persons engaged in taxable activities, with annual taxable supplies exceeding (or expected to exceed) GHC 120,000 are required to register for VAT.

Withholding Tax ?

Ghana imposes withholding taxes (WHT) on payments made to both resident (R) and non-residents (NR) on certain classes of income earned:

  • Dividends: 8%
  • Royalties: 15% (NR only)
  • Interest: 8%
  • Technical services: 20% (NR only)
  • Income from transportation, shipping and air transport: 15% (NR only)
  • Supply of goods and services exceeding GH¢500 (R only): 5%
  • Rent (for individuals and as investment income) (R only): 8%

A reduced rate may be available under an applicable Double Tax Treaty.

Other Tax ?
  • Capital gains tax: 15%
  • Branch remittance tax: 10%
  • Gift taxes: 15%

Ghana Immigration and Work Permits

Foreign nationals wishing to work in Ghana are required to obtain a work permit. Foreign companies registered with the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) are automatically granted an Automatic Immigration Quota (AIQ), which enables them to hire foreign nationals. However, the number of foreign nationals that may be hired is dependent on the amount of foreign equity capital invested.

Your Options

Use your own company?

A foreign company that wishes to get a work permit for one of its employees must first set up its Ghanaian subsidiary/branch/representative office. This Ghanaian entity may then apply for the work permit.

Work permits can be obtained from either the GIPC in the form of an Automatic Immigration Quota (AIQ) or the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS)/ Ministry of Interior (MoI), depending on what type of industry the proposed applicant will be working in.

Applicants engaged by companies in the mining and petroleum industries, as well as NGOs have to apply to the GIS/MoI while applicants engaged by companies in other industries have to apply to the GIPC.

Step 1: Obtain letter of recommendation

Prior to making application to the
GIS for work permits, applicants should obtain letter(s) of recommendation from the regulatory bodies overseeing the industries concerned in respect of named applicants:

  • Mining – Minerals Commission
  • Petroleum (upstream) – Petroleum Commission
  • Petroleum (downstream) – Energy Commission
  • NGOs – Department of Social Welfare

Step 2: Apply for a work permit

Generally, the Ministry of Interior only grants work permits to expatriate employees or to individuals who have already been issued residence permits. Work permits may also be granted to foreign nationals engaged on a short-term basis for certain specific services. Short-term work permits are not counted against a company’s foreign employee quota.

The following documents must be submitted as part of the work permit application:

  • A letter of recommendation for the granting of a work permit in respect of a named applicant;
  • Curriculum vitae of the applicant;
  • Contract of employment of the applicant;
  • Medical report;
  • Police report;
  • Registration documents of the company employing the expatriate;
  • Educational certificate of the applicant; and
  • Tax clearance certificate of the Company.

When reviewing applications, the Ministry of Interior will consider whether the activity in which the foreign national will engage will be functional, whether the applicant honours his or her tax obligations, and whether the applicant demonstrates evidence of satisfactory financial support.

An applicant may not work in Ghana while his or her work application and other papers are being processed.

The foreign national is not permitted to change employers after he or she receives a work permit. If unavoidable, the applicant must notify the Immigration Service within one week after the applicant knows he or she is changing jobs.

Time: Work permits must be renewed annually; however, long-term (two or more years) work permits are issued if the applicant has worked consistently in Ghana for at least three years.

Fees: Ranges from GHC 10,500 – 21,000. For a full fee schedule, please refer here.

Step 3: Notification to the relevant immigration authority

When a foreign national begins to work for an employer in Ghana, the employer will have to give notice to the issuing authority for work permit or Immigrant quota no later than seven days after commencement of employment in a prescribed form, indicating the commencement date with a copy to the Director of Immigration. Additionally, a letter of guarantee in respect of repatriation expenses of the employee (in the event the employee is required to be repatriated) should be submitted to the Director.

Similarly, the employee will have to give notice of the commencement date to the issuing authority not later than 7 days after the commencement of employment with a copy to the Director of Immigration.

Step 4: Obtain a residence permit

Foreign nationals employed under a company’s AIQ are automatically granted residence permits by the Ghana Immigration Service. He or she must apply for the permit to be stamped into his or her passport.

The initial residence permit is valid for one year. Applications for renewals must be submitted to the Director within one month before the other permit expires. Approvals are subject to the discretion of the Director of Immigration. Applicants must normally be sponsored by established entities in Ghana or by universities or international organizations.

The following documents should be submitted when applying for a residence permit:

  • Completed application form;
  • Curriculum vitae of applicant;
  • Contract of employment;
  • Medical report;
  • Police Clearance Certificate from country of residence;
  • Two passport-size photographs; • Certificate of marriage (in case of application for spouse);
  • Birth certificate for children ( in case of application for them);
  • Company registration documents; • Tax clearance certificate of the company;
  • Quota letter from the GIPC or work permit letter from the GIS; and
  • Applicant’s passport.

Automatic Immigration Quota

Companies registered with the GIPC are entitled to an immigrant quota (that is, the maximum number of expatriates the foreign investor can employ), based on the level of foreign equity paid-up capital invested in Ghana. This is known as the Automatic Immigration Quota (AIQ).

The bands of foreign equity capital investments as regards the grant of AIQ are:

Paid-up capital Quota

US$50,000 – US$250,000 1

US$250,000 – US$500,000 2

US$500,000 – US$700,000 3

Above US$700,00 4

*The above contributions can be made in their GH¢ equivalent.

Within the last band, additional quota can be negotiated with the GIPC.

Applications a made to the GIPC for the grant of the AIQ in respect of a named applicant. The AIQ serves as an automatic work permit.

The GIPC have attached some guidelines on the AIQ and the application on hiring foreign nationals, please refer here. Investors wishing to register with GIPC can refer here.

Use the Shield GEO Employer of Record Solution?

Once you get in touch with us, one of our consultants will take all the work off your hands, coordinate with our local partners to get all the required permits organised, provide the processing time, costs, document-checklist and keep you informed through the process. Contact us to know more.

Types of visas in Ghana

Category Description of Visa
Self-employed

A foreign national may invest or start a business in Ghana by registering the company with the Registrar of Companies and then by applying to the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, indicating his or her field of investments.

Family members

Dependants are covered under the AIQ, however this does not entitle them to work, as such they are required to apply for a work permit in their own right. Residence permits may be issued to a spouse and other dependents of a principal residence permit holder. Issuance is subject to the condition that the dependents may not undertake remunerated employment without obtaining the appropriate authorisation.

Business visa

The following documents must be submitted:

1. Completed visa application form
2. Valid passport for at least six (6) months (Before Expiration)
3. Evidence of financial support or letter of invitation from host in Ghana
4. Visa Fee – money order, postal order, cashiers check or certified bank check
5. Two passport-size photographs of applicant. Should be taken at least within the last three months (Very Important)
Affix each photograph with glue on the top right comer of the application form.
6. Applications submitted by mail must be accompanied by prepaid self-addressed overnight, trackable envelope ( FEDEX) for return of passports. Only requests accompanied by certified prepaid return envelopes will be processed.
7. Letter of invitation from the principals in Ghana

Setting up a company in Ghana

When setting up a company you may want to consider these factors:

  1. Business Factors

    Generally, Ghana does not impose any restrictions on foreigners wishing to invest in the country. In deciding on whether to invest in Ghana, you may also want to consider the following when making your decision :-

    • The industry and type of business that will be conducted
    • Nationality of the headquarters / individuals (s)
    • Presence of existing trade agreements or relationships
  2. Location

    Location will be another factor. Separate cities and regions may have different rules, costs and availability. It is always recommended to seek advice from relevant professionals, such as business or legal advisors, accountants and others depending on your need.

Your Options

There are three types of business forms available to foreign companies in Ghana. Each of these business forms has distinct advantages and disadvantages, as well as differing scope of business activities, registration requirements and minimum capital requirements. In most cases it will depend on the degree of commitment a company has to Ghana and the planned business activity.

When setting up a company in Ghana, you have the following options:-

  • Limited liability company
  • Branch office
  • Liaison office

This article provides a general guideline for foreign businesses on entering Ghana for business purposes. In particular, it looks at common pathways to establishing a business presence in Ghana, generally through a corporation or branch office. In addition, various economic, tax and regulatory factors are provided throughout as a source of useful information to assist those who will enter the Ghanaian economy. The guide also looks at some immigration requirements such as obtaining appropriate visa status.

Data is based on the time of writing, November 2015 or closest available dates.

Corporation

In Ghana, investors can either set up a wholly-owned limited liability company or set up a joint venture with a local partner.

Under the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act (GIPC Act), all companies in which there is foreign participation are required to register with the GIPC, except for companies operating in the mining and petroleum industry.

1.Limited liability company (local company)

A limited liability may be either public or private, with the only difference being the public may subscribe to shares in the public company.

Investment capital requirements

Ghanaian LLCs can be either fully or partly owned by foreigners.

The minimum capital requirements vary with respect to the level of foreign shareholding the company has. Wholly- owned foreign companies have a minimum capital requirement of US$500,000. Enterprises with foreign participation that are involved in trading have a minimum capital requirement of US$1,000,000. All of these may be paid in cash or its equivalent in goods by way of equity capital.

Accounting / auditing requirements

Every company is required to keep proper books of accounts.

The Companies Code also requires statutory audits for every company.

2.Joint venture

For joint ventures, the minimum equity shareholding is US$200,000 (in either cash or capital goods) to be contributed by the foreign partner. The local partner who is a citizen cannot have less than 10% equity participation in the joint enterprise.

Steps for Incorporation 

Step 1: Acquire a Tax Identification Number (TIN)

Applicants are required to obtain a TIN before proceeding to company registration. The applicant needs to complete a Ghana Revenue Authority Taxpayer Registration Form. Organisation. After processing, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) officers will send a text message to the applicant to collect the TIN.

Agency: Registrar-General Department or Ghana Revenue Authority

Time: 2 days

Cost: No charge

Step 2: Check for availability of company name and submit company documents to obtain the certificate of incorporation

A company name search can be conducted at the Companies Registry (customer service office) to ascertain the availability and acceptance of the proposed name of the company and submit the company documents for registration. The Registrar may, on a written application and on payment of the prescribed fee, reserve a name pending registration of a company: section 15(13) of the Companies Act 1963 (Act 179)

The applicant may pick up a prescribed Form A and submit the completed forms at the in-house bank. The relevant forms may be found here. The applicant must also submit four copies of the Company regulations and a copy of its Tax identification number form.

The applicant will need to provide the following information in the forms:

  • Nature of the business that subscribers intend to engage in
  • Full names of subscribers and shareholders, their addresses, percentage shareholdings, occupation, and any directorships in any other company
  • Full name and address of company secretary and auditors (a letter of consent to act as auditor is attached)
  • A declaration that the minimum nominal capital complies with the requirement that a company 100% Ghanaian-owned have minimum nominal capital of at least GHC 500

The tax identification number (certificate) is usually obtained by the Registrar General’s Department on behalf of the incorporated company. Four or five copies of the company regulations and Forms 3 and 4 are required (auditors, banks, solicitors, company secretaries may each require a copy). A letter from an auditing firm must also be presented.

Agency: Companies Registry Customer Service Office

Time: 1 day

Cost:

Name search GHC 25, Name reservation GHC 50
, Complete set of Incorporation forms GHC 15
, Registration fees GHC 200
, GHC 5 per certification of regulations (assuming 3 certificates)

Alternatively, the fee schedule may be found here.

Step 3: Authentication of forms required for the certificate to commence business

Applicants must complete Form 4 for the issuance of the certificate to commence business. The forms have to be certified before a Commissioner of Oaths.

Agency: Commissioner of Oaths

Time: 1 day

Cost: GHC 5-10

Step 4: Obtain the certificate to commence business from the Registrar-General Department

After incorporating the company, the founder must complete Forms 3 and 4 within 28 days, indicating, among other information, the names, addresses, businesses, and occupations of the company’s secretary and directors; name and address of the company’s qualified auditor; the address of its registered office; its register of members; the amount of stated capital; and the number of issued and unissued company shares. All the company directors as well as the secretary must sign forms 3 and 4. 0.5% of the stated capital will also be collected by the Registrar-General’s Department on behalf of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as a commencement tax.

The Registrar of Companies now automatically registers new companies with the IRS. VAT is charged at 15% including a national health insurance levy (NHIL) of 2.5%.

Agency: Registrar-General Department

Time: 2 days

Cost: 5% of the stated capital as commencement tax + GHC 10 (registration fee with the Ghana Revenue Authority).

Step 5: Deposit paid-in capital in an account

The applicant must present the following documents to deposit paid-in capital in a bank account: copies of company regulations; the certificate of incorporation and the certificate to commence business; and signatures of the authorised company representatives.

Agency: Bank

Step 6: Apply for business licenses at the Metropolitan Authority

The cost to apply for a Business Operating Permit (BOP) at the Metropolitan Authority depends on the type of business and the category in which it falls under. Documents to be submitted also depend on the type of enterprise (for example, restaurants must have permits from the fire department and the Town and Country Planning Authority—and, among other documents, an inspection certificate from the Ghana Tourist Board).

Agency: Metropolitan Authority

Time: 7 days

Cost: GHC 270

Step 7: Inspection of work premises by the Metropolitan Authority

An officer will visit the business premises to make an inspection, following which a report will be made to the Revenue Mobilization Subcommittee of the Metropolitan Assembly. The subcommittee meets to deliberate on the report and then recommend to the Executive Committee of the Metropolitan Authority whether any adjustment is required.

Agency: Metropolitan Authority

Time: 1 day

Cost: No charge

Step 8: Register for social security

The company must attach the list of employees, their respective salaries and social security numbers, and the company’s certificate of incorporation and certificate to commence business when registering for social security.

Agency: Social Security Office

Time: 1 day

Cost: No charge

Step 9: Register with the GIPC

Foreign investors are required to register their companies with GIPC. Investors are required to complete Investor Registration Forms (Form GIPC/R1) in triplicate. The GIPC will formally register the investment within five (5) days from the date of orderly receipt of these forms (and its attachments).

Agency: GIPC

Time: 5 days

Cost: Varies according to enterprise and industry, ranges from GHC 1050 to 42,000. A full fee schedule can be found here.

Branch office

Foreign corporations operating in Ghana can operate as a branch office without the need to incorporate. However, it is generally advisable to incorporate rather than set up a branch office in Ghana, given the numerous drawbacks associated with having a branch office.

In Ghana, a branch is considered an ‘external company’, meaning it is a body corporate formed outside the Republic of Ghana that has an established place of business in Ghana. This can take the form of a branch, management, share, transfer, registration office, factory, mine or other fixed place of business, but does not include an agency unless the agent is authorised to negotiate and conclude contracts on behalf of the outside company.

Investment capital requirements

None

Accounting / auditing requirements

The branch is required to submit a profit-and-loss account and balance sheet (as in the limited liability return of accounts) annually, or at intervals not exceeding 15 months.

Steps for Set-Up 

Registration of a branch will require the following documents:

  • Name of company (name of head office entity);
  • Nature of business;
  • Name and details of local manager;
  • Authorised capital (for head office);
  • Issued capital (for head office);
  • Address of principal place of business in Ghana
  • Address of registered office in country of incorporation;
  • Name and address of a person authorised by the company to accept service of process and other documents on its behalf
  • English translation of memorandum and articles of association of head office, duly notarised by a notary public in the country of registration
  • A power of attorney executed in favour of the local manager, which must be notarised as well; and
  • Certificate of incorporation of Head Office.

On receipt of the documents, they are registered in the Registrar of External Companies and the particulars gazetted.

Liaison Office

A liaison office is not an independent legal entity and hence, may not conduct direct commercial or revenue-generating activities with the execution of contracts, receipt of funds, sale or purchase of goods, or provision of services. Its sole purpose is to collect market information and promote the foreign corporation’s business.

As a liaison office is considered an external company, the set-up process is similar to that of a branch.

Outsourcing Employment Through a GEO Employer of Record Service

Whether to incorporate in Ghana, and what sort of entity to setup are just two of the many choices companies must make when expanding into a new market.

If the company intends to have staff in Ghana, they must also decide whether they will administer that employment internally or use a Global Employment Organisation to handle payroll and employment responsibilities. A GEO Employer of Record solution is an attractive alternative where

  • the company is looking to setup an office quickly
  • the company wants to work within a defined budget
  • the company wants to limit its initial commitment in Ghana
  • the company needs help with tax, employment, immigration and payroll compliance in Ghana

The complexity of employment regulations in Ghana makes the use of a GEO advisable coupled with local legal counsel to ensure full compliance with employment laws, for example the drafting of local contracts for workers.

Shield GEO provides a comprehensive service in Ghana allowing companies to deploy their staff quickly with reasonable, clearly stated costs and timeframes. The company contracts directly with Shield to employ and payroll their staff on their behalf in Ghana.

Shield GEO then becomes the Employer of Record. Shield GEO assumes the legal responsibility for these employees, sponsoring them on work permits, complying with local employment law and running their monthly payroll. Using Shield GEO is the fastest and most cost effective way to deploy local and foreign workers into Ghana. Read more about outsourced employment through Shield GEO.

  • Tax Compliance : What is FATCA and who is affected?

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