GHANA PORTS & HARBORS AUTHORITY TO HALT INEFFICIENCIES AT THE PORTS – VEEP DIRECTS GPHA
The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has directed the country’s port authorities to act decisively in halting the inefficiencies at the ports. Such inefficiencies and other bottlenecks, he said, had resulted in significant losses in revenue to the state, businesses and individuals.
“The inefficiencies encourage collusion among some importers, clearing agents, and Customs officers to exploit the system to the detriment of tax revenue,” he said.
The Vice-President gave the directive at the opening of the Port Efficiency Conference in Accra yesterday and expressed the government’s determination to work with the port authorities in dealing with the situation.
The one-day conference was organised by the Office of the Vice-President to discuss and outline practical ways of addressing the port efficiency issues, to the benefit of businesses. It also discussed the growth of the economy and job creation.
He noted that, in spite of the introduction of the Destination Inspection Scheme and the single window systems, aimed at addressing the inefficiencies at the ports, there were still bottlenecks militating against their efficient functioning.
Dr Bawumia said, for instance, that the issue of an ineffective customs valuation system still needed to be addressed, while the coordination of port activities, systems operations and linkages were also major concerns. “Inefficiencies breed corruption and waste,” he stressed.
On cargo clearance, Dr Bawumia said the improvements made had been very slow and that the time cargo spent at the ports, was still high, compared to ports in South Africa and other parts of the world.
“We still have delays in the clearance of goods and the attendant costs such as demurrage and rent,” he said.
In 2016, he recounted that importers paid an estimated $100 million in demurrage charges.
“This is not the kind of revenue we need or want to build this country. It is a punitive cost, an inefficiency cost. It is an avoidable cost, and it only goes to demonstrate that shippers are not releasing containers to the shipping lines in good time,” the Vice-President pointed out.
Throwing more light on challenges at the ports, he said, there were other inefficiency and nuisance costs, including those used in "facilitating" clearance through the regulatory agencies and GRA Customs itself.
Dr Bawumia said a 2013 study, conducted by renowned researchers Brian Slack and Claude Comtois on "Ships Time in Port, an International Comparison," revealed that the average time in port for vessels in Europe was about 25 hours; East & North Asia was about 17 hours, South Africa was 64 hours, but that of the Port of Tema was about 103 hours in 2016.
“Clearly, we have a long way to go. Our government would work with the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), and other stakeholders towards the realisation of the objectives of the Tema and Takoradi Port expansion projects, as this is in consonance with our rapid industrialisation agenda,” he reiterated.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of West Blue Consulting, technical partners of the Ghana National Single Window (GNSW) project, Ms Valentina Mintah, in a presentation, said for the inefficiencies to be addressed, “the processes must be truly paperless such that the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), GPHA, Customs, terminal operators and other intermediaries ought to be made to work on a single platform.”
The acting Director-General of the GPHA, Mr Paul Asare Ansah, suggested that the authority, in its quest to achieve higher productivity, should invest in logistics and infrastructure to eliminate delays within the trade chain. He said the GPHA was aware that efficiency in port trade was not limited to only the ports, but along trade corridors to enhance business competitiveness.
Soucre: Graphic online consulted on 19th of May, article published 18th of May : http://www.graphic.com.gh/news/general-news/halt-inefficiencies-at-the-ports-veep-directs-gpha.html
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