The launch of Ghana’s National Integration Maritime Strategy (NIMS) has earned the admiration of many, including veteran maritime consultant and legal practitioner, Dr. Emmanuel Kofi Mbiah, who has described the attempt made by the orchestrators of the strategy document as commendable.
He was of particular praise for how the document seeks to harmonise the activities of various agencies and actors within the maritime set-up of Ghana.
However, the expert, with over four (4) decades of experience in the field, has cautioned that the impact of the NIMS will hinge on true commitment, especially from the nation’s political leaders.
“We use the term political will time without number, but it is so important to establish that the will is there to implement the things as we expect them to be done. There’s always an accusation of the political realm of sea-blindness. To what extent can we get away this sea-blindness?” he asked rhetorically.
Dr. Mbiah was speaking to Kennedy Mornah on the award-winning Eye on Port programme last Sunday evening.
He said the National Integrated Maritime Strategy, which is intended to map out workable solutions for the industry’s problems, is not futuristic enough.
He explains that the strategy could take a cue from ongoing global developments in the sector, such as the green transition and tailor strategies that develop the sector in that light.
The legal practitioner at Alliance Partners also expressed that he wished a comprehensive maritime transport policy emerged out of the creation of this strategy document.
“If you ask me, in five years’ time when we have put this strategy to test and implemented a number of initiatives, one of the things we will have to look at is how we relate the strategy to an existing policy; where out of that policy, we can do our prioritisation,” he explained.
Dr. Mbiah said due to the limitedness of resources amid the wide gamut of opportunities, a policy will allow prioritisation of areas the nation has competitive advantage in, where resources can be thrown at.
He cited shipping, ship building or maritime tourism as examples of areas that when accentuated, should be bolstered by an existing policy.
The former Chief Executive of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority also expressed concern over the bureaucracy that characterises leadership of the strategy.
Dr. Mbiah expressed apprehension over the existence of a National Maritime Council consisting high-level cabinet officials as well as a secretariat, hoping it will not stagger the smooth implementation of action plans, but instead serve as a propeller for effective implementation.