Ghana Losing Millions In Unregistered TTA’s

Naa Lamle Orleans-Lindsay – Head of Legal at the GIPC

The Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC) has disclosed that the country is losing huge revenue through the illegal transfer of funds accrued through unregistered Technology Transfer Agreement (TTA).

According to the state body mandated to register TTAs, a lot of businesses are breaking the law to the detriment of the state by not registering their TTAs.

“There are many companies either wholly Ghanaian own or joint venture or foreign companies who are transferring money under these agreements without registration at the centre. So, they have these services, money is leaving the country and there is no registration of the agreement; that is breaking the law.

Ghana is losing huge revenue because they get most of these monies in Cedis and they convert it into foreign currency and leaving the country weekly, monthly, quarterly annually, these monies are significant, we are talking millions,” said Head of Legal at the GIPC, Naa Lamle Orleans-Lindsay.

She was speaking at the GIPC’s first quarter Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) Breakfast Meeting which comprehensively discussed Technology Transfer Agreements, on the theme “Technology Transfer Agreements: Eligibility, Compliance & Liabilities.”

The meeting brought key partners such as the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), the Bank of Ghana, and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, and key business players to discuss issues relating to TTA applications, and the benefits of TTAs to both foreign and local businesses.

Under GIPC legislation a TTA is an agreement between a company in Ghana (Transferee) and a company outside Ghana related/non-related (Transferor) for a duration of 18 months-10 years (initial)/ 18months -5 years (renewal) which involves: assignment, sale and licensing of all forms of industrial property e.g., patents, industrial designs, trademarks; provision of technical expertise;  provision of know-how ( information, data whether patentable or not including technical/commercial information relating to research, design, development manufacture, use or sale; provision of managerial services and personnel training, among others.

Mrs Orleans-Lindsay said the Center is thus collaborating with the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to enhance the monitoring of the transfer of funds under the unregistered Technology Transfer Agreement (TTA) through various commercial banks.

She said the collaboration between the three-state institutions is to ensure that all agreements signed by businesses operating in the country conform with the TTA requirements in the bid to eschew any act of money laundering and also ensure that the nation’s currency is not badly hit by these acts.

She further explained that the move is also geared towards ensuring that services that can be executed by locals are not given to foreigners; “When these agreements come, the law has mandated us to ensure that jobs or services that the country can execute are not given to foreigners.

We scrutinize and ask for relevance to employ a foreigner to execute a job when there is local expertise for it. If no proper reason is given, we disallow such services in the agreement and entreat the company to go for a local firm.”

Director Banking Supervision Unit of the BoG, Philip Danso indicated that the Central Bank is very sensitive to these matters and has warned that any financial institution caught would be severely punished.

“The bank of Ghana has gotten to a point where it has stopped cautioning, penalties and sanctioned are exacted when we find out that a bank has engaged in the transfer of money with an unregistered TTA or without a TTA at all,” Mr. Danso said.

By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri