Confusion Surrounding a $40 Million Cargo Tracking Deal at Ghana’s Ports
Bright Simons, the Vice President of the policy think-tank IMANI-Africa, has shed light on a $40 million deal for cargo tracking at Ghana’s ports, which has left stakeholders in a state of apparent turmoil. The government agencies entangled in this situation include the Ghana Revenue Authority, Ghana Shippers Authority, Ports, Trade Ministry, and others.
This revelation follows a statement from the Finance Ministry discrediting a circulating letter with the title “Re-enhancing Shipping Data Collection and Management in Ghana through Smart Port and Electronic Cargo Tracking,” purportedly sent from the Finance Ministry.
Simons remarked, “A deal estimated to be worth approximately $40 million annually has prompted various government officials to engage in disputes. The Ghana Revenue Authority, Ghana Shippers Authority, Ports, Trade Ministry, and others have been at odds. Finally, the highest authority, the Finance Ministry, has intervened to label one daring contractor as fraudulent.”
Elaborating on the intricacies of the matter, Simons revealed that the company claiming to have been authorized by the Ghanaian government is a “mysterious entity.”
He stated, “The company that asserts it has received a mandate from Ghana to validate all cargo imports, and which the Finance Ministry accuses of fraud and forgery, is a shadowy entity known as Antaser, with a slew of aliases across Africa (TPMS, BBVA, etc). Its activities could befit a Hollywood script.”
The Finance Ministry clarified that the letter in question claimed that as of September 15, 2023, all shipments to Ghana, including transit shipments, must obtain an Electronic Cargo Transit number (ECTN/SPN) and submit it to Antaser Afrique BVBA for verification.
The Ministry emphasized that the letter and its contents are fictitious and should be disregarded.
In a statement dated October 31, 2023, the Finance Ministry expressed its gratitude to shipping agents and stakeholders who brought the purported letter to their attention. They assured these parties that any new government policy or tax changes would involve extensive consultation with relevant stakeholders before implementation, in line with their standard practice.