Requirements To Start An Importation Business In Ghana

Importation Business In Ghana

One of the surest means of making money in Ghana today is by starting an importation business. This is because the importation industry is one of the industries that are yet to be tapped well by Ghanaians and it offers an opportunity for one to earn a decent income provided they follow the right steps.

Unlike in the past when the business of importation in Ghana was left specifically for investors with huge capital, things have changed as regular businessmen and businesswomen can now start an importation business on a small scale.

However, if you are interested in starting an importation business, be it on a large scale or a small scale, then this article is for you.

In this article, we’ll provide information on everything about the importation business in Ghana as well as how you can start and run one successfully.

What Are The Types Of Importation Business In Ghana?

There are two types of importation business, which are the small-scale importation business (mini importation business) and large-scale importation business.

What Is Small Scale Importation Business (Mini Importation Business): The small-scale importation business refers to the buying of goods online from manufacturers in other countries like Turkey, China, USA, etc, and selling them in Ghana at a very profitable margin.

In this type of importation, you don’t have to go through government processes which require a lot of paperwork. Meanwhile, the mini importation business requires low investment.

What Is Large Scale Importation Business (Major Importation Business): This type of importation business involves importing goods in large quantities from other countries by first fulfilling all the import requirements which range from documentation, trade agreements, and fulfilling all customs regulations and standards. And this type of importation business is capital-intensive.

What Are The Major Imports Of Ghana?

The major imports of Ghana are:

1. Crude oil
2. Fuel
3. Chemical products
4. Machinery
5. Consumer goods
6. Food ingredients
7. Intermediate goods
8. Capital goods
9. Electricals
10. Vehicles
11. Pharmaceutical products
12. Fertilizers
13. Plastics
14. Clothes
15. Salt, stone, lime, and cement, etc.

How Profitable Is Importation Business In Ghana?

The importation business in Ghana is very profitable as the profit percentage ranges from 50% to over 100%.

When we talk about the importation business being profitable, it is based on the goods you are importing into Ghana and the mode of selling them. Though profitable, it can also be challenging if you don’t set your track well. That’s why you need to have a good knowledge of the business before getting started.

What Are The Challenges Of Importation Business In Ghana?

There are a lot of challenges facing importation in Ghana and some of these challenges are:

1. Complicated Customs Administration: There have been complicated processes in the customs services that discourage prospective importers from importing goods into the country.

Most times, the frustration is so much that even existing importers have double minds.

2. Damaged Goods: Most times goods imported may get damaged at the port of discharge. This can cause great loss.

3. Documentary requirements may confuse intending importers as there are different documents for a particular goods.

4. Logistics problems like delays at transshipment, cancellation of inbound vessels, delays at the port of loading, and many more.

5. If you don’t have the right knowledge of the business or if you are not being careful you are likely to import low-quality goods.

What Are The Documents Required For Importing Into Ghana?

Some of the basic documents that are required to import goods in Ghana are:

1. Original waybill or bill of lading
2. Attested invoice
3. Packing list
4. Import Declaration Form (IDF) from the Ministry of Trade
5. Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) from GRA or GhanaCard
6. Required permit(s) from any of the regulatory agencies, though this depends on the type of goods.

How Much Does It Cost To Start An Importation Business In Ghana?

For a mini importation business, you need at least 300 to 2,000 Ghana cedis to get started. You should budget as high as 650,000 Ghana cedis to start a major importation business in Ghana (Large-scale importation business).

How Can I Start An Importation Business In Ghana?

For Mini Importation

Here are the steps you should follow to start a mini-importation business in Ghana:

1. Choose The Type Of Products You Want To Import: There are varieties of fast-selling products like jewelry, cosmetics, clothing and apparel, computers, fashion accessories, mobile phones, household items, and utensils, hair wigs and healthcare products, electronic devices, and equipment.

However, you have to do some research before choosing any product.

2. Source For The Products: The next step is to find a place where you will buy such a product. Meanwhile, there are reportable websites like,,,, etc.

3. Choose A Supplier: As you are starting a mini importation business you have to know that a good and reliable supplier is one of the pillars of this business.

Customer reviews who have made purchases from the suppliers on the website you wish to purchase from can help you choose the right suppliers.

4. Make Your Order And Pay: Now that you have chosen the supplier for the products. At this stage, you have to select the product, order the product, check out the product, and then make payment.

Most importantly, ensure that you get a successful order message from the supplier.

5. Delivery Of Your Goods: When it comes to delivering your goods, it comes in two ways which are free shipping and premium delivery.

The free shipping usually takes 14 to 60 days while the premium delivery takes between 3 to 5 days but it requires more fees. However, you have to choose one.

6. Arrival And Promotion: After the ordering of goods, and its arrival, the next option is to start promoting your product. It can be online or offline. However, it will be more profitable if you run Facebook or Instagram ads to promote the product.

This is how to start a mini importation business in Ghana.

For Major Importation Business (Large Scale Importation Business)

Below is how you can start importing to Ghana on a large scale:

1. First you have to obtain a registration certificate from the Registrar General’s Department.

2. The importer or importer’s agent has to submit an import to declaration form from the MOT1, manually or electronically (GHS 5)

3. If your goods are connected to food products, cosmetics, and drugs, you have to apply to the FDA (Food and Drug Authority) to register as an importer and to register the product to be imported via ICUMs for an FDA import permit valid for 1 year.

Also, know that there is an importer fee of 0.8% for food, 1.8% for drugs, and 0.5% for cosmetics.

However, for other agricultural products, you as an importer or agent have to register with the Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD) and then apply for an import permit.

For other regulated products, you must obtain a license or permit from the competence ministry/agency department.

Additionally, a product can be on both the FDA and PPRSD lists. And for the other regulated products, you must register as an importer with the Ghana Standards Authority.

4. You must obtain a Tax Clearance Certificate from the GRA.

5. At this stage, you submit an electronic application for a Bill of Entry and then upload the supporting document in ICUMs.

6. The shipping company submits the manifest to GRA customs.

7. You submit the Customs Declaration via ICUMs.

8. You make payment of duties and charges to an authorized dealer bank.

9. Therefore, the consignment is inspected by the GSA and the FDA or the PPRSD/Veterinary Service Directorate, that is if required. The same will be inspected by the Customs Examination Officer and a Custom Chemist Analyst.

10. Once every charge has been paid, the merchandise is cleared by GRA customs.

11. You then pay fees and obtain a vehicle toll pass and a waybill from the GPHA (Ghana Ports and Harbors Authority).

12. The terminal clerk now cross-checks and confirms that the correct fees have been paid.

13. At this point, the customs preventive officers check the documents and then release the goods.

14. Finally, the National Security Officers check documentation to ensure that the correct cargo exists in ports.

This is how you can start a large-scale importation business in Ghana.


Just like every other business, the importation business requires a careful analysis and a good knowledge of the business. It is not a business that should be rushed.

You should contact other trusted importers or agents who are in the line of business to guide you through.

Finally, starting an importation business in Ghana is very lucrative.

Ambassador Victor Chidera
Ambassador Victor ChideraAmbassador Victor Chidera is a business consultant, writer and a blogger. He provides lots of professional and expert advice to small businesses, entrepreneurs and organizations. He has many years of experience in business, teaching field, and research work. And his aim is to provide business articles that matters to you both nationally and internationally.
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