Ghana risks losing revenue at seaports – Borderless Alliance
Ghana risks losing revenue and experiencing serious congestion and lengthy delays at her seaports, borders and road networks if the Government does not step up measures to eliminate time-consuming procedures and multiple checkpoints.
Mr Ziad Hamoui, President of Borderless Alliance (BA), said this on Tuesday at the inauguration of an 11-member Borderless Alliance National Executive Committee (BANEC) in Accra.
BA is a private sector partnership with government that seeks to facilitate cross border trade by addressing the various bottlenecks at border crossings between Ghana and its neighbouring countries, especially for landlocked countries that used the country’s ports for their import and exports needs.
Mr Hamoui warned that if measures were not put in place to remedy the situation, the country would experience a serious challenge that occurred at the ports in Nigeria some 30 years ago.
He said: “Government will lose revenue, traders will find ways to bypass the system, and consumers will continue to suffer from increasing living costs”.
Mr Hamoui said the situation had become urgent owing to rapidly increasing trade and transport volumes in Ghana adding “with the rapid growth of the Ghanaian economy and increasing volume of trade through our seaports, borders and road networks, we need to find ways to improve the efficiency of our revenue authority systems”.
He, therefore, called on Government to facilitate the procedures to free the ports of undue pressures and unnecessary delays to enable the country to rake in more revenue through the processing of ships and cargoes.
On the Executive Committee, he said members had been tasked to foster a productive public-private dialogue, engage the appropriate decision-makers and make the required changes that would solve problems as well as promote best practices of trade and transport within the West African sub-region.
Mr Hamoui said the Committee should discuss issues posing challenges to trade and transport businesses that used the border crossings and to find solutions to those challenges within the broader objective of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) such as the trade protocol on free movement of persons, services and capital.
The BA was initiated in March 2010 and aims at providing the private sector with a common and credible platform to help its local authorities and regional governments to solve urgent issues of regional barriers to trade and transport.
Mr Emmanuel Martey, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA), gave the assurance that the Authority was committed to trade facilitation and would play its role as the convener of the Committee in Ghana to the best of its capabilities.
He said that was to ensure a “truly borderless situation in terms of movement of goods and persons in line with the goals of ECOWAS for improving on trade within the sub-region”.
He said the players in the industry were looking up to the GSA, West African Trade Hub (WATH) and BANEC to ensure the development of the economies in the sub-region through effective trade.
Mr Martey said the Authority would continue to support and collaborate with the WATH and the BA to lead the provision of an appropriate platform to find solutions to issues that plagued business in terms of intra sub-regional trade.
He said the major strategy of the GSA was to effectively collaborate with organisations to facilitate trade.
Mr Martey said the Authority aimed at employing several strategies to protect and promote the views of shippers.