The Deputy Minister of Transport, Daniel
Titus-Glover, the CEO of the Ghana Chamber of Shipping, Dr. Kofi Mbiah, Dean at
the School of Graduate Studies, Regional Maritime University, Dr. John York
Abaidoo, have unanimously admitted that Ghana’s ocean resources are
underutilized, and there is so much room to explore in order to fully harness
the potential of the blue economy.
“If you were to look at how one of the
various areas of the blue economy complement the other areas, you would realize
that the potential is huge. Unfortunately, we are very limited to the way in
which we harness these resources,” Dr. Mbiah expressed.
“I agree with my seniors that we are
not taking full advantage of this blue economy,” Daniel Titus-Glover added.
Speaking on Eye on Port’s interactive
live panel discussion on assessing the scope of the blue economy and how Ghana
can harness its full potential Kofi Mbiah stated that, there is over
concentration on port development in Ghana, and there remains varied
opportunities that the ocean offers for the blue economy.
“Unfortunately sometimes when we talk
about the blue economy people only think about the main things, such as the
port, shipping etc. but it goes beyond that. We can talk about ship building, construction
in the sea, port development, transportation, oil and gas, aquaculture, fishery,
tourism, and recreation. All of these together is what we call the blue economy,”
He said, if these areas are fully
developed, there is a projected 5.4 million jobs to be created globally due to
the infinite resources the ocean offers.
He lamented that the various agencies
in the maritime-logistics chain including transport, fishing and energy, work
in silos, and integration is needed to create seamlessness in the industry.
He called for a comprehensive maritime
policy that would narrow the country’s interest towards the highly prospective
“Once you know what your interests are
then you can relate that to a comprehensive policy. Out of that policy then you
can have your strategy and then you can have your plans and programs for the
realization of those dreams in the policy.”
The Deputy Minister of Transport and
Member of Parliament for Tema East, Daniel Titus-Glover, called for an
increased use of Ghana’s inland water resources to alleviate the burdened sea
port, and called for more assistance from the private sector to invest.
“We want to explore the potential of
the Volta Lake. We have done some studies and we will be creating about 2 to 3
ports in the Volta Lake to be able to continue the blue economy business around
that stretch,” he revealed.
He said the Government of Ghana, has
currently created an enticing environment for investors to develop Ghana’s
viable maritime industry and this is evident in the port expansion projects, in
both Takoradi and Tema Ports.
“As a way of enticing business and the
private sector, in this MPS deal, government gave $834m as tax waiver. It is a
huge sum of money that could entice them to partner with government.”
He also revealed that a new
comprehensive transport policy is to be rolled out soon and which would address
the growing needs of the blue economy otherwise known as the maritime industry.
Dr. John York Abaidoo, Dean at the School of Graduate Studies, Regional Maritime University, in addressing the state of insufficient opportunities for graduates of maritime training institutes, urged Ghanaians to be aware that graduates of RMU are not only equipped to be employed in the core public maritime institutions in the country, such as the Ghana Ports and Harbors Authority, the Ghana Maritime Authority and the Ghana Shippers’ Authority.
“When you take Port and Shipping, where most of the students come from, in fact, any organization or entity in Ghana that imports or exports, will need a graduate from Port and Shipping,” he explained.
He said shipping and marine service companies doing business in the country, should take up graduates of the RMU and as a matter of seriousness, legislation should be passed where local participation for ship’s crew is mandatory.
“The problem here is legislation. I know that when local content laws become operative, then we will have the power to say that, every ship visiting our coast should carry at least one local crewman. I believe that can also help us,” he opined.
Dr. Kofi Mbiah called for a change in the current curriculum of the Regional Maritime University as well as the Chattered Institute of Logistics and Transport training programs which are affiliated to the Ghana Institute of Management and Professional Administration to be able to adjust to modern industry demands so that skilled human resources can be trained to harness a broader job market relevant to the trends of the dynamic blue economy and even beyond.
“Your curriculum itself must be adjusted to reflect these modern times. If you do not do that you will be swept away and that is what we are seeing. Talking about training about 500 people, what kind of training do we give them? Both the cadet, and those coming at shore. Studying port and shipping alone, sometimes they get limited. Even the nomenclature must change,” he admonished.
He also asked for a paradigm shift towards the fisheries sector which he described as having enormous potential.