The year 2017 was principally fulfilling for Eye on Port, your Authoritative Port and Maritime Television programme. Unlike the year 2016 where the programme focused largely on complaints by most port users on fraudulent engagements with clearing agents as well as confiscation of imported items particularly cars which required Eye on Port to assist them to obtain their goods back or get compensated for their loss, 2017 was more towards the supply or service delivery policies advocated by the programme which caught the attention of policy makers.
Since its introduction, Eye on Port has sought to bring activities within the Port and Maritime Industry closer to people and bring people also closer to the Port. The Programme highlights pertinent issues that confront stakeholders in the Port and Maritime Industry and seek assistance from relevant institutions like the Ghana Shippers’ Authority, Ghana Customs, Ports and Harbours’ Authority, Maritime Authority, and their private partners in addressing such challenges. Relevant Ministries like Transport, Trade and Industry and Finance have also been very supportive in addressing the needs of Port users through the programme.
In 2017, Eye on Port begun the year by considering the challenges confronting the Industry with the then heads of relevant agencies.
The programme had raised issues including presence of multiplicity of state agencies with physical presence in the Port, extortion from importers in the name of taking goods for sampling by inspection agencies. Issues of confiscated items and different exchange rates for foreign currencies in the Port were also raised on the program to the highest level of the presidency when the Vice President visited the Port in early part of the year 2017.
Not long after this, the Vice President held a Port efficiency conference to address inefficiencies in the Port and assured Eye on Port, he believes the directives will make a lot of difference in the industry.
Even after the directives, Eye on Port continued to probe other concerns like starting a debate on the charging of miscellaneous fees by clearing agents in spite of the paperless regime.
Stakeholders spoke vehemently against the miscellaneous fees and hoped it will be scrapped when the paperless regime establishes.
Eye on Port also embarked on a journey from Tema Port to Ghana’s Borders revealing that in spite of the directive by the Vice President, some transit routes like the Takyiman to Hamile stretch still had some customs barriers that were active. On this corridor, the Eye on Port team discovered about four Customs Check Points which appeared to be very active from Paga to Hamile and Hamile to Techiman alone.
The first Customs checkpoint was between Navrongo and Paga before the main Customs barrier at Paga. Here, Officers were seen very active and the team interacted with them.
The next Custom barrier was the Kondioko Customs check point in Banu right after the Banu Bridge on the Navrongo-Tumu road. Here again, officers were seen very active there. The next Customs Check Point the EOP team found was at Kulmasa after Nyole close to Wa, the Upper West Regional capital.
The team finally discovered the last Customs checkpoint at Bole in the Bole Bamboi District of the Upper West Region.
Again, Eye on Port had earlier exposed coordinated relationship between Custom officers at the borders of Ghana and some individuals who claim to be agents collecting 1,000 CFA from transit importers before aiding them to cross the Ghana border to Burkina Faso.
Again the Commissioner of Customs intervened and banned the collection of that money following additional interventions by other stakeholders.
Eye on Port further hit the Transit Corridor to ascertain the level of harassment by security officers on the corridor. We discovered that although the level of harassment had drastically reduced after we last filmed some officers extorting monies, some bit of it were still happening. But police officers on the corridor blamed that on the drivers for carrying fake driver’s license and vehicle worthy certificates.
We also exposed the bad conditions under which police officers on the corridor are working.
Eye on Port also exposed leaking and rusted pipelines belonging to the Tema Oil Refinery and located at the Valco berth near the Dry Dock in the port of Tema which posed serious threat to the port following some serious leakages.
The pipelines are laid for the transmission of crude oil, liquefied petroleum gas, gasoline, among other highly inflammable products, to the refinery and other critical installations in the Tema metropolis.
Indeed for all these works and many more unmentioned earned the programme several recognitions from individuals and organizations as it was named the best maritime media programme at the maiden edition of the Ghana Maritime Awards and the Media programme in Shipping at the maiden edition of the Ghana Shippers Awards. It also earned the Port Authority PR Organization of the year in the manufacturing and Industry category by the Institute of Public Relations in 2017.