75 police barriers between Tema and Paga pose major threat to trade

Photo: IGP James Oppong-Boanuh, left, and CEO of the GSA, Benonita Bismarck, right. Credit: Osei Owusu Amankwa

Shippers’ Authority fears for smooth implementation of AfCFTA

As the country prepares for the January 2021 commencement of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA) has made some moves to ensure that the nation’s transit corridor is devoid of any barriers that impede the free movement of goods.

As a result, the GSA conducted road trips and monitoring exercises along the corridor and identified 75 police barriers between the seaport of Tema and Paga, the connecting point into Burkina Faso and most of the Sahel region.

The GSA also noted that the barriers are not only the slowing movement of goods and trade but also serving as a conduit for some officers of the service to extort money from transit shippers – especially truck drivers for supposed road traffic infractions. The authority has submitted its findings to the Ghana Police Service and entreated the service to work on reducing the number of barriers on the stretch.

To this extent, the Ghana Police Service and the Ghana Shippers’ Authority have renewed their commitment to work together on removing trade barriers along Ghana’s transit corridor. The two-state agencies made the pledge when the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the GSA, Benonita Bismarck, paid a courtesy call on the Inspector General of Police (IGP), James Oppong-Boanuh, earlier this week.

She informed the IGP about the establishment of an e-platform by the GSA in collaboration with the Borderless Alliance to provide real-time solutions for non-tariff barriers to trade along Ghana’s transit corridor. Ms. Bismarck said with the ongoing expansion works in the Tema Port, it is expected that trade will increase between Ghana and the landlocked countries of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

The development, she said, “has led to increasing cost of doing business along the corridor, along with the associated delays which sometimes cause damage to perishable goods”, therefore appealing for the IGP to assist the GSA in resolving the challenge.

For his part, Mr. Oppong-Boanuh assured the GSA of the Police Administration’s support in removing non-tariff barriers along the corridor. He intimated the appointment of liaison officers to work with regional commanders to collaborate with the GSA on addressing the issue. He appealed that shippers and truck drivers should report officers who extort monies from them, so they can be sanctioned.

Explaining why there is an increased number of police barriers along the corridor, the IGP said the proliferation of weapons and pockets of violence registered in the sub-region coupled with fighting crime internally have given cause for the service to put in extra measures to keep the country safe.

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