Ghana Ports & Harbours Authority News
PAINSTAKING INVESTIGATIONS BY EYE ON PORT EXPOSES 4 ACTIVE CUSTOMS BARRIERS ON TRANSIT CORRIDOR DESPITE VEEP’S DIRECTIVE
The Vice President on May 17th, 2017 announced three major policy directives as part of efforts to make Ghana’s Ports efficient. The Directives included having a joint and mandatory inspection at Ghana’s ports, implementing 100% paperless systems at the Ports and finally removing all customs barriers on the Transit corridor to allow for free movement of Transit goods along the corridor.

Eye on Port however decided to gauge the level of compliance of the directives across board. This time, our focus was mainly on the removal of custom barriers on the Transit corridor as the paperless and joint inspection successfully took off with much publicity.
Indeed our journey from Tema Port revealed that almost all customs checkpoints had been eliminated with the exception of 3 which are said to be ECOWAS approved barriers as confirmed by the Commissioner of Customs, Isaac Crentsil when addressing Burkina Faso Drivers.

However, the same could not be said for other transit routes like the Takyiman to Hamile route. On this corridor, the Eye on Port team discovered about four Customs Check Point which appeared to be very active from Paga to Hamile and Hamile to Techiman alone.
 
The first Customs checkpoint was the between Navrongo and Paga before the main Customs barrier at Paga. Here Officers were seen very active and the team interacted with them.

The next Custom barrier was the Kondioko Customs check point in Banu right after the Banu Bridge on the Navrongo-Tumu road. Here again officers were seen very active there. One of the officers, popularly referred to as champion Kofi by the people of Banu who spoke to Eye on Port said the directive needs to be reconsidered because the customs presence there at such Border towns prevented smuggling of all kinds and other illegal activities.


The next Customs Check Point the EOP team found was at Kulmasa after Nyole close to Wa, the Upper West Regional capital. Here again, officers in Uniform were found engaging in the usual Customs duties.

The team finally discovered the last Customs checkpoint at Bole in the Bole Bamboi District of the Upper West Region. Here, several trucks stopped as they approached the checkpoints and sent their documents to Custom Officers who were at post to collect, inspect and stamp them.

When contacted, the Commissioner of Customs, Isaac Crentsil said the officers are not supposed to be at post in those checkpoints and instructions have been issued through the sector commander to close all such checkpoints.

Indeed until, the officers here are reassigned and the buildings converted to different uses, the Directive to remove all Customs Barriers on the corridor will be a mirage
Indeed, the 100% paperless transactions at the  despite the directive by the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia that all customs barriers be removed from Ghana’s transit corridor on the 1st September, 2017, your authoritative Eye on Port can confirm that the directive hasn’t been fully implemented.
Eye on Port Team embarked on a painstaking investigation to ascertain whether the barriers have been removed and also to assess other challenges on the Transit Corridor specifically Bolgatanga to Hamile Border and the Hamile Border to Techiman
The team begun the journey from Bolgatanga through Navrongo and contrary to our perception that all Customs barriers on the transit corridors had been removed with the exception of 3 ECOWAS approved checkpoints more checkpoint were seen.  Aside the three (3) that had already been mounted on the Kumasi to the Bolgatanga stretch, the team counted 4 additional checks from Paga to Hamile and Hamile to Techiman alone.
The first Customs checkpoint the team went through was the between Navrongo and Paga before the main Customs barrier at Paga. Here Officers were seen very active and the team interacted with them. They even part of the entourage that saw the Commissioner and the rest of the team off to Tamale.
The next Custom barrier was the Kondioko Customs check point in Banu right after the Banu Bridge on the Navrongo-Tumu road. Here again officers were seen very active and still engaging in usual customs business. One of the officers who is popularly called Champion Kofi by the people of Banu spoke to the EOP team on camera and argued against the order to have Customs barriers removed by the Vice President. In his view their presence there deters potential smuggling of all manner of items.
 
The third Customs Check Point the EOP team found was at Kulmasa after Nyole in the Upper West Region and the regional capital Wa. Here again, officers in Uniform were found engaging in the usual Customs duties.
The team finally discovered the last Customs checkpoint at Bole in the Bole Bamboi District of the Upper West Region. Here, several trucks stopped as they approached the checkpoints and sent their documents to Custom Officers who were at post to collect, inspect and stamp documents.
Beside the 4 Customs Check Point, the EOP team counted 14 Police Barriers and stops at the following towns and villages: Nakong, Banu, Hamile, Nadowli, Loho, Tanina (Wa), Nyoli, Kulmasa, Gindabour, Sawla, Bole, Ayorya, Subinso No2, Abotare, Wenchi and Techiman.   
In addition to the Police and Customs check points, the EOP team also discovered the Wa Municipal Revenue Collection check point and the Bole Bamboi District Revenue collection check points.
The EOP team, however, observed that the Navrongo to Wa corridor was reported to be quite dangerous with a lot of armed robbery activities and also with very poor road network.
The investigations also revealed that most of the Police Posts were also in poor conditions and most of the Police officers complained of poor conditions which can be a motivation for extortion and harassment of Transit Truck Drivers and Traders.
The Eye on Port Team even had to assist transport a very sick Police Officer to the Tumu hospital when we found him in a very sick condition.
Eye on Port will keep an Eye on the corridor and viewers updated.


PARLIAMENTARY SELECT COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORT AND ROADS VISITS GPHA
Members of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Roads and Transport have paid a working visit to the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority to familiarize themselves with ongoing activities there.
Members of the committee were received by the acting Director General of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Paul Asare Ansah, his management staff and the Chief Executive Officer of Meridian Ports Services, Mohammed Samara.
The purpose of the visit was for the committee to get themselves acquainted with the projects underway at the port, the progress made so far and the challenges been faced, that may require the intervention of government.
Samuel Ayeh-Paye, the Chairman on Transport and Roads stated that “our mandate is to assist the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Roads and Highways, and the Ministry of Aviation to succeed in the day-to-day activities. Also that all these Ministries and their agencies and departments perform,” he explained.
The Acting Director General of GPHA, Paul Asare Ansah highlighted the projects underway, such as the ongoing paperless system and the Tema Port Expansion among others.
 
He stressed the need for the port infrastructural fund established by the port authority.
“Some of this foreign funding makes it difficult for Ghanaian companies to be practically involved in development of these facilities. One of the ways that we have decided to adopt to offset some of these cost and some of these challenges is to come up with a port development fund which would provide us with sustainable means of funding port infrastructure, and port modernization,” he said.
The Chief Executive Officer of Meridian Ports Services, Mohammed Samara explained that on the Tema port expansion project, about 100 hectares of land has been reclaimed with more reclamation works ongoing.    
Members of the committee proceeded to the Tema Shipyard, where the General Manager for Business Development there, Alice Torkornu gave a history and main business activities of the Tema Shipyard.
She said in spite of the deplorable state of equipment at the Shipyard, GPHA’s takeover has resulted in some positive results for the shipyard.
“We have handled 28 vessels so far and these are big vessels. These are not small vessels at all and each time the owners have come back to say we did not think that you could do it, we are very delighted and very impressed about the job. So, we believe that a little push for the yard would create jobs for this nation, would lead to training and development for local capacity building, and the yard would be able to contribute its quota when it comes to taxes and duties for the government,” she opined.
 
The chairman of the committee, Samuel Ayeh-Paye pledged the commitment of the committee to the management and staff of the Tema Shipyard.
The committee was taken through some principal areas of the Port including the Fishing harbour, the various quay sides in the Port and the Tema Port expansion site among others.

BORDERLESS ALLIANCE, SHIPPERS AND PORT AUTHORITIES PROMOTE GHANA AS A GATEWAY TO REGIONAL TRADE

The Ghana Shippers Authority in collaboration with the Borderless Alliance, with the support of allied institutions like the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority has organized a roadshow for haulage truck drivers at the Black Star Line in Tema.
The roadshow was to bring to the fore, the myriad of challenges associated with the road transportation of cargo on Ghana’s corridor as well as the problems faced by haulage truck owners and drivers.
Stakeholders present were the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Ghana Police Service, the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, USAID Advance, USAID West Africa Trade and Investment Hub, West Africa Food Markets Program, Ghana Highway Authority and ECOWAS Brown Card Secretariat.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Shippers Authority, Benonita Bismark, in a speech delivered on her behalf pledged her outfit’s commitment to improving Ghana’s transit corridor.
The National President of the Borderless Alliance, Zaid Hamoui said the free movement of goods and people is an important component of economic growth and that Ghana is well positioned to become the true gateway for West Africa with better management of its corridor, from the seaports to the borders and beyond.
The Director of Tema Port Edward Osei, expressed the readiness of the Port Authority in making Ghana a leading container hub and the beacon of trade and industry in West Africa.
Meanwhile, the Road governance caravan which continued along the Tema - Paga corridor aimed at educating and sensitising stakeholders on key issues concerning the movement of cargo along the corridor; strengthening the political will to eliminate inefficiencies and fight police harassments continued on the Transit corridor to Paga.
 
According to the Ghana Shippers Authority, it has over the years introduced innovative programmes and consistently partnered with relevant stakeholders to resolve shipping and logistics challenges that retard trade facilitation.
Bashiruddin Abdul-Aki, Senior Research Officer of the Ghana Shippers Authority in an interview expressed that “we would continue to collaborate with our partners, Borderless Alliance, and other stakeholders to ensure that going forward, all the changes are necessary and all the collaborations that would be able to enhance the free movement of goods along the corridor is done. Because we believe that at the end of the day, if the cost of trade is reduced, we would be doing so much to help the economy and our individual shippers.”

The Trade Facilitation Specialist at the Borderless Alliance, Ghana, Bright Senam Gowonu commended the advocacy and free movement of goods on the corridor.
“The Mali trucks taking clinker from the Port of Takoradi are paying GH¢100 at each police checkpoint between Tamale and Bolgatanga. We believe that such practices are not suitable for making our corridor very competitive. It is not in favour of the government’s effort of creating a borderless region where Ghana would be at the center of economic development,” he explained.

The Chairman for Upper East Shippers Committee, Francis Danso, said there has been improvement in the contact lines from customs, axle load and borderless Alliance when handling challenges.



DIRECTOR OF BNI COMMENDS GPHA FOR EFFECTIVE SECURITY MEASURES TO COMBAT CORRUPTION AND SAFEGUARDING NATIONAL REVENUE AND ASSETS
The Director of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), has commended Ghana’s Port Authority’s unwavering commitment to providing a supportive atmosphere for BNI to assume its role in the port to protect national assets and state revenue.

The BNI Boss who made his first visit to the Port Authority after assuming office said he was exceptionally impressed by efforts that have been made by the Port Authority in addressing unethical practices, including extortion, pilfering and all other forms of corrupt activities in the Port.
“I see in you a changed attitude in the scheme of things as much as GPHA is concerned. And we hope that this spirit you have shown here in your capacity to even inspire us with revelations about actions you have taken so far is a clear indication that we are good to go,” he said.

He urged the Port Authority to continue to collaborate with the BNI as it has always been between the two institutions to completely eliminate potential threats in the Port, since the Port is a major national asset.
“We are also looking at this area as a very important critical national asset because if GPHA should go down today, I do not know what exactly would happen to Mother Ghana. So, it is important that all key facilities are secured in the manner that we would be able to beat their chest and say so far so good we have the agenda alright and we are moving toward the desired goals. So, when I talk about critical facilities, you know them. They are all over the place”, he added.
 
The Director General of GPHA, Paul Ansah vouched for a deeper collaboration with the BNI, especially with the sharing of intelligence in order to further facilitate security procedures at the ports.
“One of the outcomes of our collaboration with the BNI, the Navy, National Security and other security agencies led to the arrest of this pirates who hijacked the oil vessel and since then there have not been any attempt because it sent a very strong signal that our territorial waters are a no go area for pirates operating freely elsewhere,” he put forward.

He assured that the Port Authority would remain corporative with the BNI to perform its mandate of ensuring national security at the country’s ports.
“We are here to support each other to ensure that the national interest and the professional interest are all protected to a very large extent while the customers who transact businesses in the port also feel welcome and are always desirous of coming back to transact business with us,” the Director General added.

The BNI team were taken on a tour of the port expansion project and also the new 450MW capacity Karpowerbarge located in the fishing harbor.
The group also visited the office of the Assistant Commissioner of Custom, Felix Mate-Kodjo and the new Tema Port expansion site.


PRESIDENT COMMENDS PORT AUTHORITY FOR EFFECTIVE SUPERVISION OF PORT PROJECTS AND SMOOTH PAPERLESS OPERATIONS

  President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has commended the Port authority for effective supervision of port projects and smooth paperless operations.
According to the President, the management of the Port Authority has impressed him with his supervision on the paperless project implementation and his commitment to safeguard national revenue.
“I have visited the Tema Port to inspect the activities that are undertaken over there and I must say, the implementations that have been put in place for transformation are really working well. I was also at the Customs Long Room to check on the paperless processes and it is really working and this has been attested to by stakeholders,” he said.

The President who was addressing a large crowd in the Tema Metropolis as part of his Greater Accra Regional tour also assured that he will support Ghana’s Port Authority to grow to provide jobs and rake revenue for the nation.

The President and his entourage then visited the Tema Port to inspect the ongoing Tema Port expansion site and also learn at first hand the state of the paperless port operations systems.

Here, the President and his entourage were briefed by Mohammad Samara, CEO of MPS on the progress of work regarding the $1.5billion Tema Port Expansion Project.
 

In his response, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo expressed his excitement over the level of developments going on in the Port particularly the expansion project.
He said it would be a milestone reached by Ghana, should the project be completed and serve its intended purpose.
“We are committed to very rapid development of our country especially its industrial and agricultural sector and if it’s going to make sense the infrastructure we need to support that development is very key and this is one of them. That we would have in our disposal in this country a first class port, more capable of receiving the biggest vessels in the world and allowing us to accelerate the pace of our development and our exchanges. It is an amazing intervention that collectively, yourself, your partners and GPHA are making on behalf of our country,” he highlighted.

He praised Ghana’s Ports for being proactive in staying above the competition in the sub-region.
“Some of our neighbours are also undertaking important port developments in Cote D’Ivoire. I’ve been told there’s some major port development that has taken place in Lome, which I have actually seen myself. But, I’m not sure any of them have been any more advanced today like what I am seeing here,” he said.

President Nana Addo and his entourage also called on the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Tema sector where he was received by the Commissioner General of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Kofi Nti, Director General of GPHA, Paul Asare Ansah, Commissioner of Customs, Isaac Crentsil, Director of Tema Port, Edward Osei, managers of the Port Authority and Officers of Customs.


The Commissioner General of GRA, Emmanuel Kofi Nti, in a speech, highlighted that although there have been challenges with regards to revenue mobilization, the GRA have emerged successful in their duties due to government reforms put in place.
“The Ghana Revenue Authority can confidently say that it is on course in its drive to achieve its revenue targets thanks to the introduction of the paperless initiatives of the government announced by His Excellency the Vice President in May 2017 to ensure trade facilitation and revenue maximization,” the Commissioner General reported.
 
The President expressed appreciation for the efforts exhibited by Customs to support the country’s growth through revenue mobilization.
“When we speak about wanting to build a Ghana beyond aid, what we are saying is we should become like all the progressive countries in the world, a country that depends on its own resources to buttress its own development,” Nana Addo averred.

The President also suggested that the already existing partnership between the government and the agencies at the country’s ports be made stronger to achieve desired national growth and development.

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