The Port Authority and its allied agencies and companies have just concluded a week long Trade Mission to Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso.
The Trade Mission which was organized by the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority is part of the Acting Director General of GPHA, Paul Asare Ansah’s initiatives aimed at attracting the transit business to Ghana’s Ports and make the Ports of Ghana a Trade Hub in the sub region.
The delegation which was led by the Board Chairman of GPHA, Peter Mac Manu comprised the Acting Director General of GPHA, Paul Asare Ansah, the Chief Executive officer of Ghana Shippers Authority, Benonita Bismarck, Director of Tema Port, Edward Osei, General Manager of Corporate Affairs and Marketing of GPHA, Esther Gyebi-Donkor and other managers of Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Terminal operators and service providers at Ghana’s Ports.
The Port Authority believes that by embarking on such Trade mission, it will be able to increase its Transit Traffic significantly in 2018 and the years ahead.
The Business delegation paid one-on-one visit to major importers and exporters in Burkina Faso like Grand Moullins/Rimonhajjar Enterprises, importers of bulk flour.
The Board Chairman, Peter Mac Manu told the importers that they had come to listen and find solutions so that the business between Ghana and Burkina Faso would grow and continue to grow.
At SITAP, the leading importer of steel and coils in Burkina Faso, the Chairman of the Company was full of praises for Ghana’s Ports.
He said Ghana’s ports will continue to win the hearts of importers in Burkina Faso “because you are faster, and also you are more customer-oriented. Look at this delegation for example. You don’t forget your customers.”
He assured that, he will personally encourage other leading importers in Mali and Niger to use Ghana’s Ports.
He also encouraged Ghana’s Ports to seize the opportunity and capture the exportation of cotton in Burkina Faso since that country is the leading producer of cotton in Africa.
“90% of our cotton used to go to Tema port in the years 2004 and 2005. You would have to look at your taxes again so capture the hearts of the importers,” he said.
The Delegation also called on Kanis Commodities owners of CIMFASO, a cement producing company. Kanis also imports bulk rice and clinker.
Here they applauded Ghana’s Ports for being Customer friendly and assured that they will continue to use Ghana’s Ports.
“We are considering importing our goods either through Tema or Takoradi for our industrial sector”, the representative of Kanis expressed.
They said, they had just imported 20,000 tons of rice through Tema Port and has 10,000 tons more coming. But someone was persuading them to try Abidjan but with the visit by the delegation, there is no way they will try any other Port but Ghana.
“So what we do currently is that we are using the Port of Lome and Abidjan but we think it will be better for us if at least 50% of our goods pass through the Port of Tema,” the Representative said.
The Delegation also met the Transport Association of Burkina Faso called OTRAF.
The OTRAF members had a number of concerns including the illegal charging of 10,000 CFA by agents or goro boys at the borders of Ghana.
One of the OTRAF members lamented that “at Paga, any truck passing by has to pay 10,000 CFA”.
The Director General of GPHA, Paul Asare Ansah assured them that he will petition Customs on their behalf for that activity to be scrapped.
He said, “the 10,000 CFA that is paid at the Paga border, we have spoken about this several times and the Customs Commissioner at a certain point gave an order to the Paga Customs not to encourage this practice.”
The Delegation then met with the Customs of Burkina Faso where the Commissioner of the Burkinabe Customs requested for a lot more integration and coordination with Ghana’s Customs. He also requested that Ghana considers some of its border procedures as some of them appear repetitive.
“So we should be able to integrate all that and adapt procedures which could facilitate, and simplify our procedures,” he requested.
The delegation also met the Burkina Shippers Authority Council where some concerns were tabled for Ghana to consider including a plea for Customs to review the 7-day free period where transit trucks can stay on the corridors of Ghana after which they are charged 1,000 penalty for over stay.
General Manager of Corporate Affairs and Marketing of GPHA, who is also in charge of the transit trade in the Port, Esther Gyebi-Donkor assured them that the Port Authority will consider their concerns.
“Since last year September when we started the terminal, the transit operators don’t pay any money to MPS. They pay only to the Port Authority. So the double handling payment has become one. So if our importers and our exporters here are not having that impact, then it means that our clearing and forwarding agents who are representing them are not telling them something,” Mrs. Gyebi-Donkor explained.
The business delegation, met the Burkinabe Ministries of Trade as well as Transport, Chamber of Commerce and called on the Ghana Embassy of Burkina Faso where the delegation was advised on ensuring that transit documents at Ghana’s Ports are less complicated.