This report was prepared by the Office of Agricultural Affairs of the USDA/Foreign Agricultural Service in Accra, Ghana for U.S. exporters of food and agricultural products.
THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY
USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT
Required Report - public distribution
GAIN Report Number:
Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards -
FAIRS Country Report 2011
This report was updated October 3, 2011 and the areas updated are:
Section I- Food Laws: Food and Drugs law is undergoing review and amendments to ensure that all
food products, including animal feed and water, are included in the food law.
Section II -Labeling Requirement: A fine of above $13,000 is imposed on companies that fail to comply
with labeling regulations.
"This report was prepared by the Office of Agricultural Affairs of the USDA/Foreign Agricultural
Service in Accra, Ghana for U.S. exporters of food and agricultural products. While every possible care
was taken in the preparation of this report, information provided may not be completely accurate either
because policies have changed since it‟s preparation, or because clear and consistent information about
these policies was not available. It is highly recommended that U.S. exporters verify the full set of
import requirements with their foreign customers, who are normally best equipped to research such
matters with local authorities, before any goods are shipped. FINAL IMPORT APPROVAL OF ANY
PRODUCT IS SUBJECT TO THE IMPORTING COUNTRY'S RULES AND REGULATIONS AS
INTERPRETED BY BORDER OFFICIALS AT THE TIME OF PRODUCT ENTRY."
Section I. Food Laws:
The Food and Drugs Board (FDB) is the Government of Ghana‟s (GOG) regulatory body with the
responsibility of implementing Food and Drugs Law of 1992, (PNDCL 305B) to regulate the
manufacture, importation, exportation, distribution, use and advertisements of food, drugs, cosmetics,
medical devices and household chemicals with respect to ensuring their safety, quality and efficacy. The
FDB‟s mandate is to protect and promote public health by ensuring that food and drugs consumed in
Ghana are wholesome and safe. The FDB was established and became fully operational in August 1997.
All food products imported, advertised, sold or distributed in the country must first be registered with
the FDB under Section 18 and 25 of the Food and Drugs law, 1992 (PNDCL 305B) and Section 4 (b) of
the Food and Drugs (Amendment) Act 523, 1996. A certificate with a registration number is then issued
with respect to the product. In addition only companies duly registered by the Registrar General‟s
Department shall be permitted to import food and drugs.
According to the FDB (Food, Drugs) General Labeling Rules, 1992, “food” includes “any article
manufactured, sold or represented for use as food or drink for human consumption, chewing gum and
any ingredient which may be mixed with food for any purpose whatsoever”. Currently, the Food and
Drugs law is undergoing review and amendments to ensure that all food products, including animal feed
and water, are included in the food law.
Since its inception, the FDB has enforced its food laws through the process of registration of products.
In an effort to avoid food adulteration FDB undertakes inspection of food processing facilities in Ghana,
destination inspection of imported products, verification of exports and post market surveillance. It is an
offence punishable by law if anyone contravenes the provisions of existing food and drugs laws.
Legally, failure to register any food item with the FDB means the product cannot be imported. The
FDB may apply the following in the case of importation of unregistered products: re-exportation,
destruction/confiscation and prosecution, or bringing the product into compliance with the law.
Section II. Labeling Requirements:
A. General Requirements
The General Labeling Rules, 1992, (L. I. 1514) of FDB require that food labeling be informative and
accurate. However, Ghana uses the Codex Alimentaruis standards to formulate its labeling
The minimum labeling requirements are:
Labeling should be in English. An English translation must be shown on the label or package
insert (where applicable) if it is in another language;
Name of product - brand name or common name should be in bold letters;
The manufacturer/exporter‟s full address including location;
The Country of origin must be provided on the product label. LI 1541 Ghana Standards Board
(Food, Drugs and Other Goods) General Labeling Rule, 1992 Section 1(1) (i) states No person
shall offer for sale, sell, distribute, import or otherwise dispose of prepackaged food or drug,
unless the food or drug is marked or labeled with-country of origin of the food or drug;
Provide net mass/weight or net volume of content- specifying essential ingredients in metric
weight for solids, semi-solids and aerosols, and metric volume for liquids;
List ingredients by their common names in order of importance by weight. If the food is
"standardized," the label must include only those ingredients, which are optional for that
Food additives and colors must be stated on the label. Spices, flavors and colors may be listed as
such, without naming the specific material, but any artificial color or flavor should be identified
Provide the production "batch" or lot number;
Provide date of manufacture of products, expiry date or best use before date.
There is no additional labeling for U.S. food imports if the standard U.S. label addresses the
above-mentioned items. Stick-on labels are not permitted;
It is not a requirement in Ghana to include the FDB registration number on the product label.
The FDB enforces the labeling laws at the ports of entry and manufacturing sites in the country. In
addition FDB officials carry out routine inspections of imported goods at retail stores to ensure that
labeling regulations are followed. There are no exceptions to the labeling regulations. Failure to comply
with the labeling regulations will compel the FDB to prohibit the importation, distribution, sale or use of
any food product, temporarily or permanently, as well as impose a fine of GHC 20,000 (about $13,333)
against any product of a particular company for non compliance.
B. Requirements Specific to Nutritional Labeling
The FDB considers any special dietary food a “drug” if it helps in the “treatment, prevention, cure,
mitigation or diagnosis of diseases in humans or animal”. As such manufacturers must register such
dietary food as medicinal products in compliance with FDB guidelines for registration of drugs.
It is mandatory to label any prepackaged food item that has a nutritional composition;
Manufacturers must justify any nutritional claim on the product's label;
Labels must contain directions for safe usage, handling and storage;
Additional nutritional labeling information is voluntary;
FDB accepts the standard U.S. nutritional fact panel.
Labels bearing „No/low Cholesterol‟ or Cholesterol Free‟ on edible vegetable oils are still not
acceptable. According to the FDB the declaration of “No/low cholesterol” in the labelling of edible
vegetable oils is considered a misleading claim unless it is stated on the label that all vegetable oils are
Section III. Packaging and Container Regulations:
The Food and Drug (Amendment) Act 523 1996 Section 7 of PNDCL 305B stipulates that “food should
be stored and conveyed in such a manner as to preserve its composition, quality and purity and to
minimize the dissipation of its nutritive properties from climatic and other deteriorating conditions‟‟.
The FDB has no specific regulations on packaging, waste disposal laws or product recycling regulations
that impact on imported food products. The FDB does not impose any specific restrictions on packaging
Importers and consumers prefer processed and high value products to be packaged in small to medium
size packs that are affordable. In addition bulk shipment of products that can be repackaged locally is
Section IV. Food Additives Regulations:
The food additive and contaminants regulations are based on Codex Alimentarius standards (vol. 1,
1991 pages 49-179) in its assessment of food safety. Ghanaian food additive regulations are specified in
the GOG Food and Drugs Law, 1992, PNDCL 305B.
No person may manufacture, import, advertise, sell or present any food item or beverage
containing a non-nutritive sweetener for human consumption unless the product is "specified for
special dietary usage";
It is not permissible to add non-nutritive sweeteners in any food or beverage to be consumed by
infants or children;
Non-nutritive sweeteners, including saccharin and cyclamates, may be used in low-calorie,
It is against the law to use Potassium Bromate as a flour improver for bread. Manufacturers are
to use Ascorbic Acid as food additive;
Effective July 1, 2005 all salts manufactured in Ghana or imported must be iodized.
It is mandatory for all wheat flour and vegetable oils imported or locally produced in Ghana to
be fortified with micro nutrients effective February 1, 2010 (Gazette No. 92).
The Legislative Instrument (LI) (Act 523) on the amendment of the food law was enacted by the GOG
in November 6, 2009.
All dairy products including baby milk containing melamine have been banned in Ghana.
Although the regulation or guideline is yet to be released no milk product including baby foods
containing melamine will be allowed into Ghana.
The ban on the sale of non-iodized salt is in compliance with the Food and Drugs Amendment Act (Act
523). Any person or company found to be in violation of any provision of the Food and Drug Law 1992,
PNDCL 305B will be subject to a court penalty unit (the fine is not fixed) to be determined by the law
court or imprisoned for not more two years or both. However, enforcement of this provision is being
applied only to imported iodized salts. Thus both iodized and non-iodized salts continue to be sold in
FDB officials carry out routine inspection and analysis of imported foods at the port of entry and at the
retail level. FDB has the mandate to seize and destroy any product found to be contaminated.
Section V. Pesticides and Other Contaminants:
Pesticide residue and contaminant levels in food are based on standards of the Codex Alimentarius
Commission (Codex Alimentarius vol. 1, 1991: pages 1-146; 182-192). A certificate of analysis, which
states the pesticide residue level and freedom from radioactive contaminants, must accompany all
By law the FDB has the right to test and analyze any domestic or imported product at its laboratories to
determine if the product is free of contamination. FDB officials carry out routine inspection and
analysis of imported foods at the port of entry and at the retail level. FDB has the mandate to seize and
destroy any product that is contaminated.
According to the Pesticide Control and Management Act (Act 528, 1996) ‟no person shall import,
export, manufacture, advertise, distribute, sell or use pesticides in Ghana unless the pesticide has been
registered by the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) in accordance with the Act‟. The EPA is the
lead authority in pesticide management and performs this role by liaising with other agencies such as
the Plant Protection and Regulatory Services (PPRSD) of Ministry of Food and Agriculture that
regulates and approves agricultural pesticides. The PPRSD is also a member of the Board of the FDB
and assist the FDB in regulatory activities. (see contact information at end of this report).
Section VI. Other Regulations and Requirements:
Exporters may retain the services of a Ghanaian agent or distributor (though not required). However an
association with a local representative who possesses a thorough knowledge of the Ghanaian market can
be extremely beneficial. As such it is common for a good agent to be heavily committed or to represent
several product lines. Thus care should be taken when approaching agents to ensure that they do not
represent other exporters that may result in conflicts of interest.
The following documentation/registration is required if an agent is utilized:
The Agent has a registered company or business with the capacity to affect a product recall if
The Ghanaian importer/agent must provide proof of Power of Attorney from the manufacturer,
which gives him/her authority to represent him/her on issues relating to the product;
The original Power of Attorney must be notarized in the country of origin, signed by the
Chairman or President of the company, stating names of the products to be registered;
The Agent is to register the product with FDB valid for not less than five years;
As a representative of the foreign manufacturer the local representative/agent can coordinate all
the registration processes for the imported food products. (See below)
FDB registration requirements:
An FDB application form for the registration of each product or product group must be
The exporter must send eight (8) product samples of the same batch of each product to FDB for
physical/laboratory analysis and vetting which takes about four to eight weeks. Product samples
may be shipped by express mail (DHL or Federal Express or other express mail) and standard
food import regulations are not applied;
The following documents must be provided to the FDB:
a. Certificate of manufacture and free sale, issued by an accredited health authority,
b. Product license or evidence of product registration in the country of origin,
c. A certificate of laboratory analysis performed in the country of origin must be provided
such as a sanitary and phytosanitary certificate. A comprehensive certificate of product
analysis issued by the manufacturer indicating the name and designation of the analyst.
All importers must submit the certificate of registration of brand name/ trademark, in the name
of the owner of the trademark, to the FDB;
The importer should present a letter of invitation for the inspection of the factory/warehouse
stating the full location address of the manufacturer, name of contact person, current phone and
fax numbers and E-mail address.
The FDB registration process involves a review of the manufacturing process, an assessment of food
safety and quality, and confirmation of compliance with FDB labeling regulations. The registration of
any food product with the FDB is a very slow process and can take between one or two months to be
completed from the date samples are submitted for laboratory tests. U.S. manufacturers/exporters
wishing to sell their food products in Ghana should be aware of relevant requirements and regulations of
the Customs Service mentioned in section IX of this report.
B. Expiry Dates
The Food and Drugs Act requires all food products should carry expiry dates and/or shelf life. The
active ingredients should be specified on the packaging where applicable. The FDB regulation states
that the expiry date should be "at least half the shelf life as at the time of inspection at the port of entry."
This means that the inspection date (by FDB after custom clearing) until the expiration date of the
product should be equal to or greater than half of the total shelf life of the product (date of production
until expiry.) The FDB routine checks have been effective in ensuring that expired food products are
removed from the shelves.
C. Registration Fees
According to the FDB, the registration fee for vetting, processing and documentation of all imported
food products, has been revised upward. The Registration fee for food products was fixed at GH¢600
(about $400) in 2010 and is to be maintained for 3 years. Annual Importer registration is GH¢200(about
$134) to keep the importer on the FDB register. Additionally, a warehouse inspection of GH¢300 (about
$200) per year has been introduced. So the total of ¢1100 (about $734) is expected to be paid at the time
of submission of documents. The consignment inspection fee has also been reviewed and yet to be
The FDB also has the following requirements:
A food product with different flavors will be registered as a group;
No applicant will be allowed to register a food product in more than one name.
D. Prepackaged Food Products
The guidelines that regulate the sale of prepackaged food products in Ghana are as follows:
All prepackaged food can be sold only if a label has been affixed to it;
Any person who labels a prepackaged food product in a manner which is false, misleading or
deceptive as regards its character, nature, value, substance, composition, merit, safety, quality,
quantity or origin commits an offence;
Manufacturers must provide a complete list of ingredients used in preparing the food item on the
label in a descending order of their proportion. Provide recommended storage and handling
conditions with the shelf life;
Indicate on the label if a prepackaged food item has been treated with ionizing radiation and the
nature of the ionizing radiation;
Submit to FDB a Free Sale Certificate from a competent health authority from the country of
product origin, that the sale of the product does not contravene the food laws of that country;
Provide FDB with product‟s license or certificate of registration from a competent health
authority in the country of product origin that is evidence of product registration;
FDB officials routinely visit retail outlets in the country to confirm that all imported food
products are in compliance with local regulations.
E. Advertisement Requirements
All advertisement and promotional materials (including the contents to be used) must be first
approved by the FDB before they are utilized;
An application to advertise a product must be submitted to FDB for approval. This approval is
in addition to the Certificate of Registration of food product issued by the FDB that authorizes
importation and sale in Ghana.
Exporters may advertise in the print and electronic media (Radio, TV), billboards, posters and point of
Section VII. Other Specific Standards:
Ghana‟s Food Law has been revised to make it mandatory for wheat flour and vegetable oils imported
or produced locally to be fortified with micro nutrients in order to address nutrient deficiencies among
the citizenry. The Legislative Instrument (LI) (Act 523) on the amendment of the food law was enacted
by the GOG in November 6, 2009. It is mandatory for all wheat flour and vegetable oils imported or
locally produced to be fortified with micro nutrients effective February 1, 2010 (Gazette No. 92).
As a result manufacturers and importers of wheat flour and vegetable oils are advised to adhere to the
Ghana Standards as follows:
1. All wheat and vegetable oils (locally produced and/or imported) are to be fortified in accordance
to the following Ghana Standards:
i. GS 811: 2006 Cereals and Pulses-Specification for fortified strong wheat flour
ii. GS 812: 2006 Cereals and Pulses-Specification for fortified soft wheat flour
iii. GS 813: 2006 Animal and Vegetable fats and oils- Specification for fortified named vegetable
1. All Fortificant premix for the fortification of the above named food stuffs should conform to the
Ghana Standards listed below:
i. GS 809: 2006 Standard specification for fortificant premix for wheat flour
ii. GS 810: 2006 Standard specification for fortificant premix for vegetable oil
These standards mandate that animal and vegetable oils be fortified with Vitamin A (blend of Vitamin
A and D3) with a quantity of 10.0 mg/kg. They also mandate that strong and soft wheat flour be
fortified with Vitamin A, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Iron and Zinc and
other ingredients including Pyridoxine, L-Ascorbic acid, Azodicarbonamide and Sulphur Dioxide.
Mandated fortification of these two products is the first of its kind in Ghana. In June 2007, some wheat
millers received three months free supply of micronutrients for the fortification of flour from the GOG.
As a result of this and public awareness created in past years, some wheat millers and vegetable oil
producers in Ghana have been fortifying their products. Despite this, the industry believes that
mandatory fortification adds substantial costs to the production of flour and vegetable oils.
Section VIII. Copyright and/or Trademark Laws:
Ghana is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the Universal Copyright
Convention (UCC) and the African Regional Industrial Property Organization (ESARIPO).
Manufacturers and traders are strongly advised to patent their inventions and register their trademarks in
Ghana, and to do so through a patent or trademark agent. Fees for registration vary according to the
nature of the patent, but local and foreign applications pay the same rate.
The Ghanaian system for patent and trademark protection is based on British law, and it was only in
1992 that the patent laws of the UK ceased to apply in Ghana. Local courts offer redress when
infringements occur, though few cases have been filed in recent years.
The Copyright Act was passed in 1961 and the Trademark Act in 1965. The Copyright Administration
in Ghana is responsible for patents, copyright and trademarks. Registration of a trademark permits the
holder to have the exclusive right to use the registered mark for a specific product or group of products.
Upon approval of a patent, the applicant is given the exclusive right to make, export, import, sell, use a
product or apply a patented process.
The Copyright Act of 1965 (amended in 1970) makes it a criminal offense to make counterfeit,
reproduce, export, import, exhibit, perform, or sell any work without the permission of the copyright
Section IX. Import Procedures:
The following sequence of import procedure is for general guidance. Importers are required to:
Obtain a proforma invoice from the supplier;
Obtain an Import Declaration Form (IDF) from the Ministry of Trade and Industry;
Apply for a Letter of Credit for payment of goods;
Arrange insurance cover for the goods depending on shipment terms;
Notify the Ghana Shippers Council when shipping by sea;
Contact a clearing Agent for Customs clearance formalities.
A. Import Duties and Collections
The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority is the GOG institution responsible for the
collection of import duty. In 2001 the Ghana TradeNet was established to provide a fully integrated
customs management software connected over a network to various operators who interact with
Customs in the processing of import and export transactions to and from Ghana. Some of these
operators include the banks, shipping companies, certification and licensing agencies as well as users of
The Ghana TradeNet is made up of two main components:
1. The Ghana Customs Management System (GCMS), which provides the Customs Division
with a fully integrated computerized system for the processing and management of Customs
Declarations and related activities. This system is designed to work in an Electronic Data
Interchange (EDI) environment, where Manifests and Single Administrative Documents (SAD)
are electronically received and automatically processed. In 2003 Ghana moved away from the
use of ASYCUDA in processing Customs Declarations. Instead Ghana adopted and modified a
Direct Trader Input system (DTI) that provides for online submission of custom documents and
1. Ghana Community Network (GCNet) is a platform enabling GCMS to share data and other
relevant information with all the parties involved in the processing of trade documents and
customs clearances. The GCNet operates a seamless electronic system that links all trade
operators, revenue agencies, and regulatory bodies through a "Single Window” system. The
current set up contrasts sharply with the pre-GCNet situation, when trade operators had to shuttle
from one agency to the other, to process their trade and Customs transactions causing delays.
Utilizing GCNet/GCSM, consignments are being cleared within 1-2 days as opposed to an average of 2-
3 weeks clearance time in the past.
B. Port Concessions and Destination Inspection Scheme
In March 2002, Ghana adopted a port concession by transferring port operations to private sector
operators with the aim to significantly increase Ghana's cargo reception, storage, bonded warehousing
and clearance capabilities, as well as providing consumers with a broader commercial choice. As such
Ghana has become a cargo hub and transit route to land-locked Africa, attracting more external business
through Ghanaian ports and borders.
Ghana abolished Pre-shipment Inspection effective, April, 1, 2000, and replaced it with the Destination
Inspection Scheme [DIS] backed by computerized risk management, X-ray scanning and physical
inspection. Now all exports to Ghana are subject to Destination Inspection unless specifically exempted
by the Ministry of Trade and Industry. There are no threshold exemptions hence all imports are subject
to inspection, regardless of their value. Inspection charges are currently pegged at 1% CIF value. The
GOG has appointed two companies to provide destination inspection in Ghana: Gateway Services
Limited (GSL) is responsible for sea freight and Ghana Standards Board and Bureau Veritas (GSBV) is
responsible for shipments arriving by air and land. In addition, depending on the imported goods,
clearances may require the approval of FDB, Veterinary Services, Ghana Standards Board, National
Drug and Nacortics Board and other agencies at the ports of Ghana.
The destination inspection procedure is as follows:
Import Declaration form (IDF) Submission;
Submit IDF to Gateway Services Limited (GSL) 21 days before arrival of goods, along with the
proforma invoice, Supplementary Information Document (SID) and Tax Identification Number
(TIN) Certificate. The SID form is available at the GSL;
Final Documents Submission to GSL;
Submit the Final Invoice, Bill of Lading and the Packing List 10 days prior to the arrival of
goods. There is a warning that without the Packing List there will be no scanning of the goods.
C. Documentations, Export and Customs Clearing
There are various stages in the customs clearance processes of cargo from the ports of Ghana. The
clearance process starts with the valuation of the cargo, declaration of cargo data on to the GCNET,
payment of duty and other relevant cargos, verification at the Compliance Section of CEPS, release by
the Shipping Agent, delivery by Ghana Ports and Harbors Authority (GPHA) and CEPS physical
examination or scanning of cargo before cargo is allowed to exit the port. Importers must appoint a
licensed Customs House Agent/clearing agent (Legislative Instrument 1178 1978) with a credible
reputation for the clearance of cargo at any freight station in Ghana. The Clearing agent will do the
following on your behalf:
All consignments imported into the country must be valued for tax and other purposes.
Submit the final invoice, Import Declaration Form (IDF) from the Ministry of Trade & Industry,
a copy of the Bill of Lading and Packing list (itemizing the value of the packages) two weeks
before arrival of vessel to the designated Destination Inspection Company [DIC] for preparation
of the Final Classification and Valuation Report (FCVR). The FCVR contains an assessment of
the Dutiable Value, Import duty and VAT of the consignment;
Pick up the Final Classification and Valuation Report [FCVR] from the DIC. Containerized
cargo selected for scanning through the Risk Management System procedure of the Destination
Inspection Companies is also indicated in the FCVR.
Tax Identification Number (TIN)
0btain a Tax Identification Number [TIN] form from the Internal Revenue Service
[IRS], if you are a first time importer. Importers require Tax Identification Number (TIN) for Customs
clearance of commercial goods. The TIN is a unique identification number generated by the Internal
Revenue Service for every tax payer. This number has to be quoted in the entry that the importer or his
representative would send the GCNET copy. Without a TIN, customs clearance of cargo from the port
is not allowed.
Entry of Cargo Data onto GCNET
Submit a declaration on the cargo electronically to Customs to the GCNet which is routed to the
GCMS. The declaration includes:
i. Declaration regime (commercial or for domestic use);
ii. Consignee Name of vessel;
iii. Date of arrival of vessel;
iv. Number of packages Delivery terms (e,g. CIF, FOB,EX WORKS);
v. Total Invoice Value (TIV) as determined by CEPS or Destination Inspection
Company (Breakdown of the TIV into FOB, freight and Insurance);
vi. Break-down of Items per consignment Commodity code of the items (10 digits)
vii. Customs Procedure Code (CPC) of commodity (this indicates whether
Consignment is dutiable, free Exempt etc.)
When the entry is validated, the GCMS generates and sends a response, commonly referred to as
a Declaration, to the front end declarant. The Declaration indicates all the taxes and tariffs that
have to be paid on the consignment and the name of the CEPS officer to verify the declaration.
Payment of Duty
Print out a hard copy of the response from GCMS and submit the signed Customs Declaration
and attach all supporting documents such as the Bill of Lading, the Invoice, the IDF, the FCVR,
the Packing List, an IRS Certificate as well as other relevant permits and documents at either of
the GCNet participating banks (i.e. ECOBANK, Ghana Commercial Bank) in order to make
payment. Special Bank Receipts are given to importers or their representatives to acknowledge
A hard copy of the Declaration, the Bank receipt, and Bill of Lading and all other relevant
attaching documents are submitted to the designated Officer at CEPS Compliance Section for
Verification of the documents and receipts;
When no discrepancy is found, the cargo is ruled for First Release [i.e. 'prior to physical
examination] or Final Release [i.e. without physical examination];
Submit a hard copy of the Customs Declaration, the Bank receipt, and Bill of Lading and all
other relevant documentation as well as the Delivery Order (earlier purchased from the Shipping
Agent) to the Shipping Agents. This is to facilitate preparation of the cargo for physical
examination pending release or immediate release as recommended by the Customs Compliance
The Delivery Order, (DO) which is in triplicate (green, pink and white or yellow) copies, must
contain information such as the name of the consignee, name of vessel, date of arrival, port of
loading and the particulars of cargo as indicated in the bill of lading. Other information that must
be provided on the delivery order include the Customs House Agent handling the cargo, the bill
of lading number; the container number; the seal number and the rotation number of the vessel;
The Shipping Agent, on receipt of the documents, then prepares the bill for the consignment.
After payment of the bill the cargo is authorized for release at the Port;
Effect payment of the relevant GPHA charges at the port;
Deposit the green copy of the DO with the GPHA Operations for the container to be dropped
within 24 hours at the designated bay for physical examination by Customs, if necessary;
Present Declaration and accompanying documents to Customs at the port gate to confirm
clearance on the GCMS. GPHA security also checks the waybill covering the goods before the
goods leave the port.
If your container is to be scanned, then deposit the declaration, Delivery Order (DO) and the
Interchange [evidence of dropping container on the truck] at the Customs office at the Scanning
Pick up your Scan number [appointment sheet] from the Scan operations office;
Present the Appointment sheet to the Check-In Agent at the entrance of the scanner;
Confirm final clearance of container after the scan at the Customs office at the scanning.
The documentation process for all imports is as follows:
Import Declaration Form (IDF) covering the goods should be completed and signed by the
importer and submitted before importation of goods;
Single Administrative Document (SAD), a customs form designed for all customs transactions
including imports and exports, must be completed and submitted to Customs;
Shipment Notification Forms: the importer needs to complete Ghana Shippers Council Shipment
Forms for sea shipment;
Insurance: Insurance coverage should be obtained in Ghana but it is not a pre-condition for
importation. However the importer has to produce evidence of an insurance policy before banks
will agree to open a letter of credit.
Other Documents supporting customs entry forms are:
a. Suppliers Invoice: this must be in duplicate and attested
b. Packing list
c. Bill of Lading / Airway Bill/Parcel Post delivery.
d. The inspection agency shall, pursuant to the inspection, issue one of the following reports
-Final Customs Valuation Report (FCVR) if the inspection yields a satisfactory result
- A Gateway Lock (GWL) if the inspection reveals discrepancies which cannot be rectified by the
The importer must present his original copy of the FCVR to the Customs Division at the time of
clearing the goods;
At the same time, the importer shall pay to Customs the total duties and taxes of CIF value of the
Special Requirements: Foods, Drugs, and some other goods imported into Ghana are required to
be clearly marked or labeled as required by the General Labeling Rules, 1992, (L.I. 1514);
Inspections and clearances by FDB, Ghana Standards Board (GSB), the Ghana Narcotics Control
Board (NCD), Veterinary Service (VET) and other agencies stationed at the ports;
E. Flow Chart: Import Documentation Procedures
Along with other ECOWAS countries, Ghana adopted a common external tariff (CET) in November
2005 and aligned its tariff rates of 0%, 5%, 10%, 20% with those of the ECOWAS.
The standard rate of duty for most food products is 20% (e.g. milled rice). Raw materials for further
processing, however, are levied a duty of 10% (e.g. wheat). A general exemption from payment on the
import duty can be granted on items such as ingredients for the manufacture of poultry feeds, if certified
as such by the Ministry of Agriculture. Other taxes follow:
Value Added Tax (VAT) is 12.5%;
National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) is 2.5% to be collected by the VAT Secretariat;
Export Development and Investment Fund Levy (EDIF) is 0.5%;
Inspection fee of 1%;
ECOWAS Levy 0.5%;
Ghana Customs Network (GCNET) of 0.4%;
G. Method of Payment
Letters of Credit (LC) are generally accepted as the method used in the payment of imported goods. The
LC can be irrevocable or confirmed. Due to delays most importers utilize inter-bank wire transfers for
the payment of their imported goods. The exporter simply ships the items to the importer upon receipt
of his bank transfer payments. This method has been helpful in speeding up the process.
To establish an LC a Bank may require a signed proforma invoice (attested), IDF, pre-shipment
notification from the Ghana Shippers Council, and Marine insurance (normally covered in Ghana but
not a precondition). This is a tedious and long process and could take more than two weeks. Upon
receipt of the bank transfer the cargo is then shipped to Ghana. The shipment time by sea from the
United States to Ghana on the average takes three weeks. Air transport is about a day. It is advised that
confirmed, irrevocable letters of credit opened by Ghanaian banks with correspondent banks in the
United States be used to guarantee payment. U.S. exporters may wish to contact the Agricultural
Affairs Office of USDA in Accra for assistance in locating reputable representatives and/or importers
for their products.
Appendix I. Government Regulatory Agency Contacts:
Food and Drugs Board
PO Box CT 2783, Accra
Appendix II. Other Import Specialist Contacts:
Ghana Standards Board
PO Box MB 245, Accra
Ghana Revenue Authority
PMB, TUC Post Office
Russ Nicely, Regional Agricultural Counselor
Marcela Rondon, Regional Agricultural Attaché
Agricultural Affairs Office (USDA/FAS)
2, Walter Carrington Crescent
Victoria Island, Lagos-Nigeria
Telephone: (234) 1 261-3926, 775-0830
Fax: (234) 1 262-9835
Mrs. Elma Ashitey, Agricultural Specialist
Agricultural Affairs Office (USDA/FAS)
24 Fourth Circular Rd.,
Cantonments, Accra, Ghana