A research commissioned by the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce (GNCC) in collaboration with the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund has revealed that, Ghana’s ports, notably the Tema and Takoradi ports and Kotoka International Airports are facing challenges of delays in clearing goods and cost escalation.
This came out at a sensitization and validation workshop on the research, Situational Analyses of Tema and Seaports and Kotoka International Airport. The workshop was organised by the GNCC on 15th June, 2017 for importers, exporters, state and private institutions involved in port operations.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Mark Badu-Aboagye (CEO, GNCC) noted that, the advocacy action on improving operations at the ports had become necessary because of the difficulties being faced by importers and exporters. These difficulties have hindered the nation from realizing the full benefits of international trade as well as its comparative advantage over its huge natural resource base.
Dr. Kwabena Nyarko, the research consultant, in his presentation noted that, the survey covered 400 importers and exporters using questionnaires and direct interviews to gather information on the import and export business.
The analyses covered three main aspects of port operations in Ghana, port facilities, port procedures and cost of doing business at the country’s port.
The findings revealed that, Ghana has standard facilities required to facilitate imports and exports business. However, the facilities are overstretched given the volumes of trade recorded in recent times. And thus, Importers and exporters complained of spending long hours on customs clearance.
According to the report, delays at the ports are as a result of human interference, congestion at ports, duplication of functions, unnecessary procedures, equipment breakdown and the nature of port facilities.
In addition to the delays, there are also multiplicity of taxes and charges that are higher than global averages. It also noted that, the clearance process and procedure is purposely designed to be complicated and intrusive precisely because there appears to be too much efforts and investment to cheat the state in terms of revenue.
Thus, the system is so designed to curb such behaviours. These factors affect the performance of ports in Ghana.
The report also highlighted that, most of the respondents were concerned about the cost of doing business with costs ranging between GH¢100 and GH¢650,000. Adding to these costs are monetary payments involved in informal arrangements that businesses resort to.
The report recommended that the current expansion and upgrade programme should be implemented on a continuous basis which should consider equipment (backup systems at the revenue terminal or division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, cranes and forklifts, more and better scanners), physical space and proper road network at the ports, more and better trucks, and provision of clinics for first aid and also restrooms.
Recruitment of more workers to avoid delays occasioned by shortage of staff was also mentioned.
It also noted that, there is the urgent need to streamline and simplify the procedures as the official processes are too winding and complicated. This requires undertaking a review to eliminate some of the institutions and eliminating duplication.
It further recommended that supporting agencies should not be allowed to use importers and exporters as cash cows for internally generated funds.
In conclusion, the report said, ports in Ghana must facilitate the movement of goods along the supply chain, as gateway ports.
The workshop took place at the Team port on August 22nd, 2017.