Remove bottlenecks to facilitate trade in West Africa sub-region – Mbiah

TradeDr. Kofi Mbiah, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA) has called for action to remove the bottlenecks affecting the West African sub-regional trade.

He said the numerous checkpoints, undue delays and harassment along the transport logistic chain were a bother, which must be urgently addressed.

The call is against the background of a World Bank study, ranking transport and logistics cost in the sub-region as one of the highest in the world.

The other disturbing finding is the high number of police and customs checkpoints, with as many as 53 such checkpoints erected between Tema and Paga alone.

It has led to a situation where transporters are forced to make illegal payments in excess of GHȼ400 per trip on that road corridor.

Dr. Mbiah, who said this in an address read for him at a trade facilitation and road governance workshop held in Kumasi. He said this was unhelpful to economic growth.

“The overall effect of inefficient road governance along our corridor increases the cost of transiting goods for shippers and the loss of revenue to the ports, freight forwarders and transporters in terms of handling charges.”

The workshop was organized by Borderless Alliance, an NGO facilitating trade in the sub-region and it targeted the security agencies, transporters, traders, and officials of the Ghana Highways Authority (GHA) and the Ministry of Roads and Highways.

The participants were drawn from Ghana, Niger and Mali and the goal was to find ways of making the transport system more efficient to promote trade and grow economies of the countries in the sub-region

Dr. Mbiah underlined the need for stakeholders in the trade and transport industry to accept to play their respective roles well and in a professional manner.

He said the GSA had established “Shipper Complaint and Support Units” at the ports and land border crossing points to provide on-the-spot solutions or information that would enhance the activities of shippers.

Currently, these Units exist at the Aflao, Elubo and Paga borders, Takoradi port and the Kotoka International Airport.

Mr. Peter Anarfi-Mensah, Ashanti Regional Minister, said there should be attitudinal change on the part of public officials whose responsibility was to ensure that the nation derived utmost benefits from the trade and transport industry.

Assistant Commissioner of Customs, Isaac Kofi Toffah, the Regional Head of Customs, warned that transporters’ caught dodging tax would face the law.

Source: GNA

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