Public and private sector stakeholders within the maritime and shipping industry of West and Central Africa during the week assembled in Accra, Ghana, to deliberate on best practices in vessel clearance at seaports.
The 2-day Global Best Practices in Vessel Clearance Workshop, organised by the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) in collaboration with the Convention on Business Integrity (CBI) and hosted by the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA), had participation from Ghana, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Senegal and Cameroon.
Associate Director at the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network, Vivek Menon, indicated that efforts of the network – whose membership comprise over 180 private sector companies – are toward promoting inter-industry private-public sector dialogue that will tackle corruption-risks in the maritime sector.
He said: “Our goal is to make the business operating environment less costly and less cumbersome as possible. At the end of the day, if you look at the broader ocean governance and blue economy discussion, we strongly believe that operations through ethical practices is fundamental.”
According to the Deputy Director-General of the Ghana Maritime Authority, Yaw Akosa Antwi, the shipping trade’s complex nature makes it susceptible to corrupt activities; he thus echoed the need for stronger collaboration toward ending the menace.
“Corruption has become one of the industry’s main challenges. Social extortion by officials, even if small amounts, is very detrimental as minor delays to a vessel’s timing comes with a very high cost of operating. Corruption in the maritime industry not only generates additional operational cost for the maritime industry, but also endangers safety and well-being of the crew – of the seafarers, and adds as a significant barrier to trade and development,” he emphasised.
Danish Ambassador Tom Nørring urged the public and private sectors to work together and put transparent measures in place to prevent corruption, in order to harness the blue economy’s potential for Africa.
The Minister for Public Enterprises, Joseph Cudjoe, stated the government of Ghana’s support for integrity, transparency and efficiency in the shipping industry to boost sustainable trade and commerce.
“There’s compelling need for the maritime sector to formalise actions for combatting bribery and corruption, by collaborating and encouraging all stakeholders in the ship-shore interface to ensure compliance with national and international laws,” he urged.