ARTICLE
11 April 2024

Ghana's Corporate Commercial Outlook 2024

The year 2023 saw policies, legislation and judicial decisions that affected businesses and individuals. This report provides insight into some of these developments in 2023 and the outlook for 2024 for some sectors or areas.
Ghana Corporate/Commercial Law
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INTRODUCTION

The year 2023 saw policies, legislation and judicial decisions that affected businesses and individuals. This report provides insight into some of these developments in 2023 and the outlook for 2024 for some sectors or areas.

2023 UNDER REVIEW – POLICY AND LEGISLATIVE DEVELOPMENTS

Manufacturing

Notable developments in 2023 include the inauguration of the Ghana Automotive Development Centre ("GADC") by the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the launch of the Ghana Automotive Code. GADC is the secretariat that provides institutional support for and has direct oversight of the automotive industry for the implementation of the Ghana Automotive Development Policy, 2019. The Ghana Automotive Code is a collection of standards compiled by the Ghana Standards Authority for the assembly of vehicles in the country and the importation of new and used vehicles.

The Ghana Standards Authority (Manufacture of Cement) Regulations, 2023 (LI 2480) ("Manufacture of Cement Regulations") became law in December 2023 to regulate the cement industry. The law applies to manufacture, production of raw materials for cement as well as the distribution and sale of cement in Ghana. The Manufacture of Cement Regulations has established the Cement Manufacturing Development Committee ("CMDC") as the committee responsible for overseeing the development and growth of local manufacture of cement as well as coordinating and monitoring activities in the manufacture of cement in Ghana. The CMDC must ensure that cement manufactured in Ghana conforms to standards developed by the Ghana Standards Authority. Furthermore, the Manufacture of Cement Regulations provides the registration and licensing requirements for manufacturers of cement in Ghana.

Media

The National Media Commission ("NMC") launched the operations of a Broadcast Content Complaints Centre with a toll-free complaints hotline for the public to report instances of offensive media content. The NMC collaborated with the National Communications Authority ("NCA"), Ghana's communications services regulator for this initiative. The initiative appears to be an attempt to regulate media content by the NMC. Subsequently, the NMC's attempt to rely on the NCA's power to revoke or suspend licences and/or authorisations for broadcasting media has faced opposition, given that the NMC has limited enforcement powers.

Healthcare

The Ministry of Health launched a National Medical Oxygen Policy to establish a framework for a national strategy to improve the production, distribution, access, storage and use of medical oxygen in the country. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the inadequacies of the production and supply of medical oxygen across the continuum of care in the country. The policy when implemented will put in measures to meet the high demand for oxygen and reduce related morbidity and mortality.

Logistics

The Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation directed all courier and delivery service operators to register with the Postal and Courier Services Regulatory Commission ("PCSRC") by 24 January 2024. The directive also applies to e-commerce entities that provide delivery of goods. The directive is to ensure compliance with section 10 of the Postal and Courier Services Regulatory Services Commission Act, 2003 (Act 649) which requires an operator of courier services to obtain a licence from the PCSRC. With the registration, the operators would obtain a PCSRC e-certificate and AfCFTA registration. The Government has a focus on the use of digital platforms for cross-border and internal trade and the importance of having the necessary oversight of courier and delivery service operators.

Telecommunications

The regulator indicated in November 2023 that 5G spectrum was available and policy decisions needed to be made on its accessibility. Earlier in August 2023, the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation announced that Ghana would not auction the 5G spectrum but would establish a neutral shared infrastructure company to deliver nationwide 4G and 5G services. The reason was to foster competition and prevent dominance by a single entity which had the capability of acquiring the spectrum.

Travel

The governments of Ghana and South Africa entered into an agreement for a visa waiver scheme for business and tourism purposes for ordinary passport holders in November 2023. Under the agreement, travellers between the two countries would be permitted to stay for a cumulative period of 90 days in a calendar year without recourse to work. In January 2024, the government of Ghana announced its commitment to implement a policy of visa-free travel to Ghana for all Africans which promotes the free movement of persons.

Conformity Assessment

Ghana now has dedicated legislation. The Ghana Accreditation Service Act, 2023 (Act 1102) ("Accreditation Service Act") provides a regulatory framework for conformity assessment in the country. The law establishes the Ghana Accreditation Service as the institution with direct oversight of accrediting conformity assessment bodies and monitoring conformity assessment activities in Ghana. The Accreditation Service Act applies to conformity assessment bodies established in Ghana such as calibration laboratories, testing laboratories, validation bodies, verification bodies, certification bodies, inspection bodies and rating agencies. A conformity assessment body must have accreditation and a licence from the Ghana Accreditation Service to use an accreditation symbol. Where a conformity assessment body is accredited by a foreign accreditation body, the Ghana Accreditation Service must approve the accreditation system used by the foreign accreditation body. The Accreditation Service Act has repealed the provisions of the Ghana Standards Authority Act, 2022 (Act 1078) which gave the Ghana Standards Authority the power to establish and administer the procedure and criteria for registration of conformity assessment activities and keep a register of all conformity assessment bodies operating in Ghana.

Cultivation of Narcotics

Parliament passed the Narcotics Control Commission (Amendment) Act, 2023 (Act 1100) under a certificate of urgency in July 2023. The law re-enacts section 43 of the Narcotics Control Commission Act, 2020 (Act 1019) after the Supreme Court's decision to strike it down because of the unconstitutional procedure for introducing the section in the law in the case of Ezuame Mannan v Attorney-General and Speaker of Parliament [unreported; Writ No. J1/11/2021; dated 27 July 2022]. The provision empowers the Minister of Interior, on the recommendation of the Narcotics Control Commission, to grant licences for the cultivation of cannabis which has not more than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content, the primary psychoactive cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant, on a dry weight basis. This licence is limited to the cultivation of the plant for its seed or fibre for industrial or medicinal purposes. The cultivation and use of cannabis for recreational purposes remains prohibited, even for licence holders. In December 2023, the Narcotics Control Commission (Cultivation and Regulation of Cannabis) Regulations, 2023 (LI 2475) became law. It prohibits the cultivation of cannabis which has not more than 0.3% THC content on a dry weight basis without a licence. The regulations also provide the procedures and requirements for the licensing, exportation and importation of the cannabis. The law applies to a person who wishes to engage in a business related to the permitted type of cannabis.

Intellectual Property

The Copyright (Amendment) Regulations, 2023 (LI 2469) ("Copyright Regulations") became law in July 2023 and extensively amended the Copyright Regulations, 2010 (LI 1962). The Copyright Regulations has replaced references to the defunct Internal Revenue Service and Customs Excise and Preventive Service with the Domestic Tax Revenue Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority and Ghana Revenue Authority respectively. Furthermore, the Copyright Regulations expands the information requirements for a copyright application and provides separate application forms for the different categories of protected works. The Copyright Regulations also expands on the types of devices that are subject to the special levy on devices capable of reproducing copyright works and reduces the rate of the levy. The levy expressly covers devices that help record, exhibit and/or produce audio-visual information such as external hard drives, decoders, smart televisions, digital cameras, tablets, personal computers and smartphones. However, tablets imported or assembled in Ghana for supply to educational institutions are now excluded from the levy. The Copyright Regulations has removed the fee on reprographic reproduction and introduced a fee on reproduction of literary works. The Copyright Regulations has also established the Cultural and Development Committee with functions that extend to the management of the special levy on devices capable of reproducing copyright works. Finally, the copyright monitoring team established under the Copyright Act, 2005 (Act 690) is placed under the supervision of the Copyright Office.

To read this article in full please click Outlook and Projections for 2024.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

ARTICLE
11 April 2024

Ghana's Corporate Commercial Outlook 2024

Ghana Corporate/Commercial Law

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