Five state security agencies on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) on Integrated Border Management as part of the Security Governance Initiative by the governments of Ghana and the United States of America.
The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), the Narcotic Control Board, the Bureau of National Investigations, the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) and the Ghana Police Service signed the Agreement to strengthen cooperation towards protecting the country’s borders.
Mr Isaac Crentsil, the Commissioner of the Customs Division of the GRA, said the concept and principle of Integrated Border Management (IBM) has been identified as one of the best approaches to addressing border challenges and facilitating the smooth movement of goods and persons.
He said, the effort of any single border agency would be futile in dealing with border challenges except by collaborating with other border agencies to ensure the achievement of total security of goods and persons.
Mr Crentsil said in the context of seeking data efficiency, managing trade and travel flaws while maintaining compliance requirement, coordinated approach of both domestic and international border control agencies was a must.
Mr Kwame Asuah-Takyi, the Comptroller General of the GIS, said it was the expectation of the Service that the concepts of the IBM would propel the country’s development towards linking up with the rest of the Continent.
He said teamwork was significant in dealing with border security challenges that posed both security and economic threats.
Modern border security management extended beyond a country’s borders to its immediate neighbours’ borders, which called for concerted efforts towards addressing security matters along those borders, he said.
Mr Asuah-Takyi said the GIS was committed to fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of the Security Governance Initiative on four thematic areas: cyber security, border security, maritime security and the administration of justice towards enhancing security at the borders.
Right Revered Professor Mike Oquaye, the Speaker of Parliament, urged the security agencies to uphold the fulfilment of their various responsibilities towards ensuring maximum security at the country’s borders.
He said Parliament would closely monitor the implementation of the Agreement to ensure its effective execution.
The availability of funds has been the major challenge of the security agencies but government is making efforts to retool and equip them towards fulfilling their core duties of ensuring the security to all citizens, he said.
The Integrated Border Management is a concept of border management devised by the European Union and was first applied in the context of the EU’s support activities in the Western Balkans region during 2002-2006.
Underpinning the idea of IBM is that individual border agencies are generally more effective when cooperation is in place.
This includes cooperation within the agency itself (intra-agency); between the various agencies involved in border management in the same country (inter-agency); and cooperation with the border agencies of neighbouring countries (international).