The government has announced plans to cut down on the number of agencies working at the various ports and borders
as a means of eliminating inefficiencies and reducing the man hours spent in clearing of goods at the ports.
Although it is not immediately known the number of agencies that would be left to handle operations the port, the cut down is expected be greatly bring an improvement upon the about 16 agencies currently tasked to inspect imported items.
Importers of have constantly complained about the inefficiencies at the port and about officials of these agencies who claim extort monies from them thus raising their cost of doing business.
The Vice President Dr MahamuduBawumia made this announcement at the Port Efficiency conference held in Accra on Tuesday.
Additionally, the Vice President announced three major reforms that would be undertaken to further change the phase of service delivery at the country’s ports.
Effective September, 1, 2017, therewould be mandatory Joint inspection at Ports. This new policy is a departure from thecurrent situation where all 16 agencies take turns to inspect imported items beforethey are cleared.
Additionally, all Internal Custom Barriers including Customs Barriers on the corridor would be removed to ensure free movement of goods on the Ghana transit corridors, from Tema to Paga, Aflao, Hamle, Elubu among others.
As part of the reform, the governmentGhana is implementing an electronic transaction at the port by ensuring a 100%paperlesstransaction andeliminateall physical contact with revenue officers.
He emphasised that port infrastructure, as well as the efficiency of customs procedures are among the most important determinants of final cost of imports and exports adding that ports around the world are creating value through efficiency and revenue increases by their position as economic and trade drivers.
“The efforts of the government to put in place appropriate policies and structures for gathering and validating data to ensure its credibility is part of our effort to building an efficient port. A more efficient seaport translates into competitiveness for shippers (importers and exporters) and all stakeholders who make their living and contribute to building this country through the ports”.
The Vice President however emphasisedthat these reforms and measures would achieve its intended effect if the citizenrytake charge of the change and make it work.
“Let us also be mindful that just throwing money and equipment at challenges is not always the best approach to problem solving. We need an understanding of processes, how to get systems to work together, and just as important how we manage the human factors that make things happen or not happen”.
He cautioned against the tendency of the agencies and institution taking entrenched positions on initiatives and policies aimed making the ports more efficient.
“Let us also be wary of over-protecting our turfs. We need a collective effort to deal with these serious issues that confront us as a nation. I’m confident that this conference would come out with a blueprint spelling out the actions and modalities necessary for ensuring that our ports become efficient and competitive”.
In Ghana, the ports are the main source of international trade and domestic revenue mobilization. The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) handles about 70% of the national and neighbouring landlocked Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger’s trade and traffic.