Ghana is set to tackle barriers that hinder the free movement of goods and the competitiveness of the shipping industry.
For many years, the movement of goods, vehicles and people between Ghana and other countries in the sub-region has been hampered by a number of challenges including cumbersome customs procedure, checkpoints, high tariffs, among others.
As part of a campaign to increase trade across West Africa, a national executive committee was inaugurated in Ghana yesterday to find solutions to the trade barriers.
Borderless Alliance is a private sector led partnership geared towards reduced costs and elimination of obstacles in the movement of goods, vehicles, services and people.
The committee is made up of 11 members from organizations whose line of work is related to the shipping industry.
Sisi Esuman-Ocran, Director of the Police Planning Unit of the Ministry of Transport, who represented the minister, noted that government is committed to tackling issues of road challenges within the trade and transport corridors of the sub-region “and will make all efforts to ensure the smooth movement of goods and people within the sub-region.”
Transport, he noted, plays an essential role in the economic development of nations and Ghana is not an exception.
Delays at the road checkpoints and unauthorized payments were not the only cause of high transport costs in the sub-region but the lack of appropriate trucks which are line with the rules and regulations of the sub-region was a major factor, he noted.
“There is therefore the need for more quality trucks that are appropriate for the terrain of the sub-region,” he said.
He urged players in the industry and commerce who attended the function to partner appropriate agencies to ensure that the deficiency is rectified.
Emmanuel Martey, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority, said the authority had commenced the establishment of Shipper Complaint and Support Units at Strategic locations such as the ports and crossing points to provide information and solutions that would enhance the activities of shippers.
“In a few weeks’ time, we shall be inaugurating the next compliant and support units at Paga land border crossing point for the Ghana Burkina Faso border.”
He said the Authority had collaborated with the Transport industry to ensure the passage of the Ghana Shipper’s Authority Regulations LI 2190, (2012) to address illegitimate charges and also create an enabling environment for ensuring quality and competitive standards.
Ziad Hamoui, President of the Borderless Alliance, in an interview, expressed worry over the countless road checkpoints that transporters have to go through and also called on the appropriate authorities to, as a matter of urgency, consider removing some of the road blocks.
“There are so many checkpoints but actually we do not need all those checkpoints and the worse thing is that most of them are illegal as they do not exist on the official list.”
He stated that although Ghana has signed the regional agreement to reduce the number of checkpoints to three “this has not been implemented.”
By Emelia Ennin Abbey