Ghana: Finance Minister calls for improved collaboration between GPHA and GRA-Customs Division

The Minister of Finance, Mohammed Amin Adam
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The Minister of Finance, Mohammed Amin Adam has lauded the collaboration between the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority and the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, urging them to even tighten this relationship to maximize revenue generation and improve trade facilitation.

This came to light when the Minister led a delegation to the Port of Tema, where he called on the Director General of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority.

“Revenue is a number one priority for me because whatever we want to do as a country, whether we want to build infrastructure, we want to pay salaries, pensions, everything we want to do depends on how much revenue you can generate. Given that Tema Harbour is the gateway to our country, we must make sure that we maximize the potential of the harbor for increasing the revenue of the state so that we can able to address our development challenges,” he said.

Mohammed Amin Adam also called for joint inspection procedures to be properly followed.

“There is also the issue of multiple agencies, that in their own right want to perform their duties but do this in silos, that also has to be addressed, and clearing agents, in particular, have complained about having to go to several agents to get clearance before they eventually clear goods. What I understand from Customs is that they do joint examinations. Beyond the joint examination, we should not have other stopping points which bring delays, and thereby increase the cost of doing business, both on your side because you have to provide facilities for all these agencies but also on the side of the business people,” he stated.

The new government appointee who touched on growing public concern for the high cost of doing business at the ports, said it is about time all stakeholders took a second look at local administrative charges of shipping lines at the Ports.

“We must move towards a system that reflects standards elsewhere in other ports, even ports that are very close to us, where certain local administrative charges are not allowed. Why do we allow them in Ghana? Is it that the shipping lines are taking us for granted? Is it that the shipping lines are not regulated?” he wondered.

He supported the cause for the creation of more inland ports when touching on the ongoing project in Boankra.

“I believe that there is value in establishing these inland ports in these areas. Apart from them being holding centers, they also enable us to trace every penny that we need to collect for the benefit of the state. So just as you have done with Boankra, you may want to start looking at Hamele and a community along the Eastern corridor area,” he said.

The Director General of GPHA, Michael Luguje said the Port Authority continues to provide expanded facilities at both Tema and Takoradi Ports to improve maritime trade in the country.
He said contrary to claims that Port handling charges are high, the Port Authority’s charges constitute less than 10% of the total charges importers pay to clear their goods.

“We have done quite several studies, the most recent one was in the early parts of this year when we were at EMT, led by the Shippers Authority, to present port charges or cargo clearance charges through our ports, and it was obvious that out of the total charges, the Port Authority’s contribution is less than 10%. We are in a very independent environment with different actors. The Port Authority’s regulations have a limit to which they can affect private entity’s operations and their tariff regimes,” he said.

The DG also called for the government’s intervention in strengthening security along the country’s land borders to prevent smuggling.

“We want to use this opportunity to just plead that government and the border authorities do everything possible to provide extra policing to the borders so that we can prevent the few who are succeeding in doing this smuggling and creating this bad impression,” he said.

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