The Ghana Police Service has been called out to, as a matter of urgency, eliminate the incidence of unnecessary police checks on transit truck drivers on the transit road corridor in order to facilitate transit and regional trade.
Transit cargo handled through Ghana’s ports in 2019 alone was One Million, three hundred and sixty-three thousand, eight hundred and ninety-two (1,363,892) metric tonnes, generating greater revenues for the nation.
Speaking on Eye on Port, some stakeholders in the transit trade suggested that the Ghana Police Service, should do all it can to readjust its activities towards transit trucks in order to complement interventions by the port industry players to attract some significant business unto the Ghanaian corridor.
“We think the Police Service can do a greater job in making sure that their efforts rather complement the bigger investment that agencies like GPHA and GSA are making into opening our ports, and educating stakeholders to grow traffic,” thee Executive Secretary of the Joint Association of Port Transport Union, (JAPTU) Ibrahim Musah said.
He disclosed that the several police checkpoints on the corridor and the accompanying harassment and extortions has made the corridors expensive for transit business.
“We have had several reports of the issue of checking of cargo which has been used as an opportunity to harass, extort and create unnecessary delays,” he bemoaned.
He questioned the intent behind the numerous police checks on transit truck drivers on the corridor and expressed that the police are capitalizing on petty to zero situations of infractions to create the opportunity to harass hauliers.
He noted that the GPHA load-worthy initiative inside the port is an additional security intervention in addition to road-worthy checks by the Drivers and Vehicle Licensing Authority, hence some of the checks done by the police are needless.
Ibrahim Musah said initial efforts made by the then IGP and his high rank police officials failed because there is a disconnect between the policy initiative at the top level from the implementation on the ground.
“You will find it difficult to understand why a police officer would not understand a directive which is as clear as what was stated by the then IGP,” he continued.
Also speaking on the same platform, the Burkina Faso Chamber of Commerce Representative in Ghana, Sherif Ouedraogo, called for the drastic reduction of police checkpoints to facilitate movement as some significant level of security has been initiated through collaborations between the Customs, SIC and his outfit to safeguard goods and drivers as soon as clearance is done through the ports.
“We have a contract already with Customs, and with SIC who give all the documentations to Burkina Faso Chamber of Commerce to clear the goods,” he said.
Mr. Ouedraogo added, “I agree that security is important but we have to reduce the checking points to facilitate the movement across the corridor.”
He proposed that the security interventions by the Ghana Police across the transit corridor to be like that of the practice in Burkina Faso who are not stationary but run patrols in the protection of lives and properties.
“We have the security who move and not stay at one place,” he indicated.
Adding his voice to the calls for improvement in police activity on the corridor, Frank Oppong, the Project Logistics Manager at Jonmoore International, a haulage company specialized in out of gauge cargoes, said haulage companies should endeavor to ensure drivers engage in appropriate safety practices in order not to become vulnerable bait for police extortions.
“Drivers should be educated. If they are in the right personal protective equipment, and for example seatbelt on, no police can harass them,” he advised.
He also advised stakeholders to rely upon monitoring schemes available to track trucks and cargo movements.