A delegation from the embassy of Burkina Faso in Ghana led by the newly appointed Ambassador, Pingrenoma Zagré, have paid a visit to the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority to familiarize themselves with port operations, discuss trade partnership between Ghana and Burkina Faso and cement already existing cordial trade relations that exist between the two countries.Ghana and Burkina Faso has had a long lasting relations that transcend cultural, political and geographical boundaries but also has strong ties in Trade since time immemorial. Ghana for instance depend on Burkina Faso for some notable vegetables like Tomatoes and Onions while Burkina Faso has safely relied on Ghana’s Ports for both importation and exportation of goods to and from that country.Among the various Ports in the West African countries seeking to serve, the landlocked country of Burkina Faso, Ghana’s Ports receive the largest amount of Cargo that is imported into Burkina Faso followed by Togo and then Ivory Coast.Goods meant to go to the Transit countries of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, through Ghana’s Ports have consistently increased and in 2016, Tema Port documented a record high of 59% increase, a figure that is expected to go up this year, 2017.It is in this taste that the two countries always continue to do all it can to protect the respect for each other and their mutual interest as well.During his first visit to the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, the newly appointed ambassador of Burkina Faso expressed appreciation of the immense support his country has always enjoyed from Ghana’s Port Authority.The Burkinabe Ambassador stressed that, it is his vision as well as that of his government to maintain and improve the cordial trade relations between Ghana and Burkina Faso.Receiving the Delegation, the Director General of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Paul Asare Ansah who also served as the Port Authority’s Trade Representative to Burkina Faso for about 4 years said the Port Authority will continue to create the enabling environment to make trading with Ghana’s landlocked partners particularly Burkina Faso the best. "The fact that Burkina is our main transit operator now, with the expansion of the port, we are going to grab all the transit countries especially Mali and Niger," he projected.
So far there are about 120 workers both Ghanaians and foreigners working on both the new 450MW Karpowership and the 250MW Karpower barge.The organizers of the simulation exercise believe such practice affords them the opportunity to effectively respond to any emergency and unforeseen eventualities."An oiler had a problem and they sounded an alarm, of a fire outbreak so the moment the fire alarm was sounded they called our fire station and within some few minutes they came to their rescue. Within a short time the fire brigade were here with their structure to aid the fire team on board to do the first search to find where the victim was,” the Fire and Safety Manager of Tema Port, Jimmy Nab-Daisy described the scenario created.He said though some challenges were encountered in the course of the exercise, the main purpose of the exercise was to test the power ship’s emergency response procedure level under a different scenario and its interface with the Port’s emergency response unit which they have successfully achieved.The Fire Manager said the exercise has also allowed the port’s emergency team the platform to test and familiarize themselves with the firefighting installations and appliances on board the new Karpowership as well as its conformity to that of the port.
The 6th Edition of the International Single Window Conference has been held in Ghana with a call on governments of countries to take over the management of National Single Window to ensure ease of doing business, eliminate the tendency of causing multiple data submission and safeguarding national revenue.
The Conference which brought together more than 500 participants with about 200 foreign delegates from over 20 countries focused on improving Trade Facilitation agreements and E-Commerce using Single Window as a catalyst.
Welcoming the participants of the conference which was organized by Ghana Community Network Services (GCNet), supported by Ministry of Trade and Ghana Revenue Authority and under the auspices of the African Alliance for E-Commerce, the Executive Chairman of GCNet, Dr. Nortey Omaboe, said there was the need for governments of countries like Ghana to set new benchmarks towards the attainment of Trade Facilitation Agreement goals that have been set by relevant protocols within the World Customs Organization framework. "In view of the importance of trade growth and its facilitation, the single window system has been identified in all relevant international protocols as being a key for the integration of all the various systems; transportation, warehousing, cargo tracking, payment systems that help to promote trade and revenue flow," he said.He said, GCNet over the years have consistently ensured that it supports governments in attainment of such Trade Facilitation targets."Indeed the solutions that GCNet has recently brought unto the Ghana market include an integration of the revenue collection systems with the expenditure systems of government, electronic transit trade monitoring as well as electronic business registration, all of which have been deployed and developed by GCNet," he said.
Dr. Omaboe called for policy measures to allow technology service providers to develop innovative information technology solutions to ensure greater efficiency in e-governance and trade processes."The truth is that the space for e-commerce initiatives in Ghana and indeed across the continent is still largely untapped," he observed.Other speakers took turns to highlight that the potential of e-commerce has not been generally harnessed on the continent of Africa and advice governments to leverage single window to promote Intra-African Trade and deepen cross border services.
A Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr. Robert Ahomka-Lindsay, urged governments, parliamentarians, policy makers, experts and global practitioners, to embrace the Single Window Systems and called for a co-operative arrangement between Customs and other government institutions involved in international trade to facilitate a seamless transfer of trade data and exchange of risk intelligence at both national and international levels.He said "the single window facility serves as an instrument to improve the publication and availability of information such as improved transparency on fees and charges, facilitate electronic payment on duties and taxes, minimize formalities in documentation requirements and allow trade operators to apply for advanced rooms as provided by Article 4 of the trade facilitation agreement to which Ghana is a signatory".
The Vice-President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has expressed optimism that effective implementation of a single widow platform will make port operations efficient and significantly enhance revenue generation for Ghana. Addressing the 6th International Conference on National Single Window organized by GCNet and supported by the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ghana Revenue Authority under the auspices of the African Alliance for E-Commerce, the Vice President said "Without a doubt, an effective single window platform simplifies port operations and transactions and it is not surprising therefore that a number of countries are implementing this platform," he stated.
The Vice President reiterated that Ghana’s government is putting in place reforms to ensure Trade Facilitation by removing unnecessary bottlenecks."Our goal as the Government of Ghana is to build the most business-friendly economy in Africa. In pursuing this, we have taken steps to bring fiscal discipline to the management of our economy since we came into office 9 months ago," he stated.
He said the Ghana government is currently embarking on ambitious reforms aimed at improving the business environment with the implementation of a Paperless Port project which has so far yielded significant results.He also revealed that, it took a political will and corporation from stakeholders to make the implementation of the project a success as government spent no money in realizing that vision. "Fundamentally, we did this by streamlining processes. The systems were there, but they were still very manual and I am glad to say the Ministry of Finance was very happy because we were able to achieve the paperless ports without the government spending a single penny," he said.
The Vice President, Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia urged Ghanaians to support the government as it seeks to bring fiscal discipline to Ghana’s economic management and grow the national economy.
The Minister for Roads and Highways, Kwasi Amoako -Atta has inaugurated the Tema roundabout improvement works.The project, which started early in October 2016 after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, was financed by the Meridian Port Services (MPS) as part of their Corporate Social Initiative at the cost of GH¢ 30 million.
MPS is a joint venture company between Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority in partnership with two of the leading global port operators, APM Terminals and Bolloré Transport & Logistics.
The Chief Executive Officer of MPS, Mohamed Samara, said the project was aimed at alleviating traffic inconveniences for the motoring public especially residents of the Tema area.
He thanked the project partners while stressing his company’s delight to see the vision of bringing relief to commuters materialize.“The commuters of the Tema motorway suffered from serious traffic which hindered the movement of private and commercial vehicles not only within the Tema communities, but also the movement of cargo from the port through the Corridor into the country and the landlocked neighbouring countries,” The MPS Boss observed.
The acting Director General of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), Paul Asare Ansah, said the project was one of the many interventions needed to create easy access to the Tema Port, especially for heavy duty trucks being the main category of vehicles plying the route.
He also stressed the need to have a buoyant rail sector to complement existing road networks in order to serve the upcoming expanded Tema Port.“Any port which has rails can be said to be very efficient and as a Port, we must have the rail as an obligation to boost the intermodal connectivity to the hinterlands. We are on course to make trading with the international community a pleasurable experience,” he emphasized.
The Minister for Roads and Highways, kwasi Amoako-Atta gave the assurance that the Roads and Highways Ministry was considering various interventions to minimize the unnecessary delays that motorists faced.“The Ghana Highways Authority and the Department of Urban Roads have regarded this roundabout as one of the critical bottlenecks in our network of roads and therefore, they have been considering various interventions to minimize the unbridled delay that motorists face in navigating the motorway roundabout,” the Minister said.