The Parliamentary Select Committee on Trade, Industry and Tourism has commended the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) for the security measures put in place in ensuring that the safety of cargo both inside and outside of the Port is guaranteed.The committee led by its chairman, Daniel Titus Glover hailed the port authority when they visited the GPHA to familiarise themselves with operations that go on at the Port.
Titus-Glover lamented the spate of harassment and extortion on Ghana’s corridor which had been exposed earlier in an investigation piece instituted by the GPHA leading to a directive by the then IGP that no transit truck should be stopped on the corridor.The chairman of the committee assured that they will meet the interior Minister so as to resolve some of these challenges.
“Whiles coming after Walewale, I can count about four or more police posts. Before every police barrier, we park, you see the policeman, excuse my language, taking money. I dropped from my car, I went to the police officer, I engaged him, and I said it’s not good, about four different police posts. So you can imagine from Tema port, going all the way to the North, the inconveniences that they will be going through and all that. So I think that as a committee, it is something that we will take up when we go back to parliament,” he said.
He said the committee will continue to engage with GPHA and other stakeholders in the clearance chain to realise the needed revenue for government.On his part, the Director General of GPHA, Paul Asare Ansah said GPHA has approved a loan of GHC13.3million to the Tema Shipyard for the procurement of some basic equipment. This, he said is part of efforts to retool the shipyard and make it more viable. “Without even pumping money for any additional facility development or refurbishment, the kind of confidence wave that our takeover generated, saw vessels cueing up to the facility for repairs and refurbishment, they were very interesting and now it has exposed the precarious nature of the facility in terms of equipment, the need to resuscitate the facility as early as possible,” he said.
Paul Ansah said the port authority will initiate an infrastructural development fund to finance future port expansion projects.The Parliamentary Select Committee was later taken on tour of the Tema shipyard, customs division of the Ghana Revenue Authority and finally the Tema Port expansion project where they were received and briefed by the CEO of Meridian Port Services, Mohammed Samara on the state of the port expansion.
The Director General of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Paul Asare Ansah together with some management team of the port authority have paid courtesy calls on the Tema and Nungua Traditional councils.The visits were to cement the cordial relationship that exists between the port authority and the traditional councils as well as to introduce Paul Asare Ansah as the new Director General of GPHA.
The delegation first visited the Tema Traditional Council where they were received by the Tema Mantse, Nii Adjei Kraku II and some elders who offered traditional prayers for the team.The Tema Mantse assured Paul Ansah of the unflinching support of the traditional council to attain his dreams and the overall vison of government.The Director General on his part promised to collaborate with the Tema traditional council.
In a related development the delegation later called on the President of the Nungua Traditional Council, King Dr. Odaifio Welentsi III at his palace.The Nungua Mantse said he was enthused about the port expansion project which is currently ongoing.Paul Ansah promised to complete the projects embarked on by his predecessor, Richard Anamoo and prayed for the support of the people of Nungua.
Students of the Regional Maritime University have been urged to take their education seriously in order for them to contribute effectively and meaningfully to the development of Ghana’s maritime industry. The Minister of Fisheries made this call in a speech delivered on her behalf by the deputy director at the ministry at a durbar organised by the student representative council of the Regional Maritime University.
She charged the students to be honest and morally upright to take up the numerous job opportunities there are in the maritime industry.“We advise you students that expectations are very high in the maritime world and as such you must be honest, morally upright to take up the challenges as there are a lot of job opportunities,” she said.The durbar was used to showcase the diverse cultures of Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Gambia and Cameroun who are under the maritime organisation of west and central Africa.
Meanwhile, the SRC of the Regional Maritime University has organised a seminar for students on their career development.Various speakers entreated the students to take advantage of the several opportunities that abound in the maritime industry.
The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) in collaboration with West Blue Consulting, the technical support providers of the Ghana National Single Window has organised a training workshop for exporters in the country. In all, over hundred exporters were trained on the implementation of a single and shared exporter online registration system for export declaration.
The export platform will enable exporters lodge their documents, including the Ghana Export Promotion Authority Registration Certificate, GNCC Certificate of Origin, invoices, customs declarations and all export permits, at a single location electronically to be accessed by all regulatory and trade agencies.This will mean that exporters would no longer be required to submit documents to different agencies, instead information can be exchanged and re-used electronically to save time and effort in the process.
The General Manager of GEPA, Stephen K. Normeshie said the implementation of the system will reduce the time and cost of going through the different processes required for making export declarations.“Another important aspect is the interface with human beings, you know the moment you have to move from one office to another, you have to see people and talk to them and they will do this and all sort of things that happen. But with this one, the interface is very limited so maybe you just go to one place as soon as you finish that place that is the end because it integrates everything that you want to do about especially, we in the export sector,” he said.The 2nd vice of the Federation of Associations of Ghanaian Exporters, Frederick Ayeh said the registration process will be easier and more effective.
In 2016, Ghana did 1million tons of transit trade cargo translating to a lot of movement of about 25000 heavy trucks on the country’s roads. It is therefore necessary for the issues affecting the transit trade to be resolved in order for the country to rake in the needed revenue from that trade.The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority has in the past taken several initiatives to ensure that the transit trade improves.
It would be recalled that the port authority instituted an investigation along the transit corridor to assess the level of extortion and harassment on the corridor.Evidence gathered compelled the then Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Alhassan to issue an order that no transit truck should be stopped by police officers.GPHA has also constructed a well paved transit terminal which caters for devanning and transporting of transit goods from the Tema port, a development that led to an increase in the transit trade by 59% in 2016.Meanwhile, the Ghana Shippers Authority in collaboration with the Borderless Alliance Ghana and other stakeholders including the Police, Customs, GPHA etc are working to position Ghana as a gateway to West Africa so as to optimise the benefits of the trade facilitation agreement.
The collaboration is fundamentally to sensitise shippers on the ECOWAS trade liberalisation agreement which came to force on 22nd February, 2017.Participants deliberated on issues affecting the transit trade including reduction and cost involved in the trade on the corridor.Emmanuel Arku, the Business Development Manager at Ghana Shippers Authority said the outcome they expect is the reduced level of cost on the corridor “that should also culminate into increased activity for traders, freight forwarders, a whole lot of operators so that business will move, everybody will be happy.”
Ghana Shippers Authority and the Borderless Alliance collaboration provided an e-platform for reporting non-tariff barriers in West Africa for effective advocacy and resolution transit challenges.Emmanuel Arku, the Business Development Manager at Ghana Shippers Authority said “the e-platform idea came up and we have been collaborating with the borderless alliance to ensure that we have a system, internet based system where operators on the corridors can seek solutions to their problems online and people will be around to respond to those issues by way of advice, by way of directing them to specific places or in some cases resolve the issue out rightly. To us it’s a very laudable initiative,” he said. The Executive Secretary of Borderless Alliance, Justin Bayili said the e-platform is already online and if one visited the platform you he or she will see that some issues were already posted online.
“Some of these issues also find solutions actually. Nothing necessarily undetermined on the corridor because we have found out that actually most countries are really interested in starting the platform,” he said.The team wish to urge the transit trading public to reach the following contacts when confronted with any challenges on the transit corridor:www.tradebarrierswa.org or call 0545030900