The year 2017 was considered very eventful in the maritime industry as Ghana's Ports begun efforts to automate clearance processes.
The new procedure plus other measures considerably improved port performance in the year 2017 though pundits believe a lot more lives to be desired.
After ending the 1st month of the year, industry players are of the opinion, that if efforts to correct a few challenges around the Port business are made, 2018 will be more fruitful than all past years.
“We seriously hope for a very good look taken at the paperless intervention,” GIFF president, Kwabena Ofosu-Appiah projected.
Dr Nana Barimah, Chairman of the Greater Accra Regional Shipper Committee, said his outfit will meet more regularly this year to leverage a better atmosphere for importers and exporters to operate.
“The responsibility lies upon us as leadership to also prompt government on certain things that are going on. Sometimes there might be some illegalities. As a leader you don’t have to compromise. You should be able to stand firm and say what is happening. You have to prove and draw government’s attention so see to it that the needed corrections would be done so that businesses will also grow. If businesses are growing, it is the economy that grows and the country grows,” he elaborated.
Executive Secretary of Importers and Exporters’ Association, Sampson Asaki, called for policy makers to review tax laws covering some commodities as against others this year.
“Importers and Exporters Association was not against tax stamps implementation. Not at all. What we were against was that, extending tax stamps to mineral water, carbonated drinks that is, canned drinks like Fanta or coke, makes it luxurious,” he posited in an interview.
President of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, (GIFF), Kwabena Ofosu Appiah expressed faith in the smooth implementation of port processes since entering 2018.
“Looking forward to a proper review done, we go back to the drawing board and see the kinds of realignments that can be done to make sure that we vision or the blueprint is properly expressed on the ground,” he opined.
The President of GIFF assured of a thorough scrutiny of all procedures at all levels of transaction to maximize the facilitation of the country’s business objectives.
“We know that efforts are been done behind the scenes to put in place a review team to take a holistic view at what went wrong so even though hope is not the strong strategy, we are seriously hoping for all these to take place in good time. As soon as possible so that we can reap the benefits of it,” he added.
Kwabena Ofosu Appiah also entreated the public and stakeholders to allow claims of solutions to work.
“If we want to do serious business, we would need to set aside the stereotypes so that we properly open up every claim, scrutinize it well so that when we pay for an intervention, we can sure bet that it would be delivering” he advised.
The stakeholders lauded the Port Authority's involvement with its clients when it comes to policy making but called for a lot more collaboration among the stake holders in 2018 to ensure the full attainment of results.
“I applaud GPHA because when they wanted to increase their tariffs, they showed clear reasons why GPHA want to increase their tariffs for 2018, but they started engaging us in 2017,” Sampson Asaki, Executive Secretary of the Importers and Exporters Association said.
Barimah Dr. Ofori Ameyaw I, Chairman of the Greater Accra Regional Shipper Committee said, “As a leader you cannot just sit down and leave your people just like that. What you have to do as a leader is to prompt and make sure that negotiations are done so that those who are also doing businesses will also have their peace of mind in doing their business and paying their requisite taxes to the nation to also grow”.
Barimah Dr. Ofori Ameyaw I encouraged government to engage more with stakeholders to facilitate easier implementation of policies and help shape the fortunes of the nation.
“There is always the need to consult the people for them to know exactly what they want so that when the two meet, you can have a fruitful discussion and at the end of the day, the two parties will then know exactly where they are moving their agenda to. But if there are no consultations, in terms of target group consultations, stakeholder consultations, then it amounts to some kind of imposition which in fairness is not good for business and the running of every institution or a country,” he added.
Sampson Asaki further suggested that “strategically, I want to be consulted. That is why I am not happy that certain meetings go on at the Presidency, about the import and export and I sit here and they do not invite me.”
The industry players suggested that, with changes in approaches to maintain integrity at Ghana's Ports, new models would be necessary for a fruitful 2018.