Ghana‘s border security agencies including the Ghana Revenue Authority, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on integrated border management.
The agreement which includes the Ghana Maritime Authority, Ghana Immigration Service, and the Ghana Police Service, would among others, address border challenges and facilitate smooth movement of goods and services at the ports.
The National Coordinator of the Security Governance Initiative (SGI) and facilitator of the agreement, Dickson Osei Bonsu, says the initiative would ensure a free flow of information among the participating agencies.
“They need a reference document that says that by these articles, by these instruments you are enabled to adhere to certain provisions,” he said.
Mr Osei Bonsu added, “There’s the need to create structures for air, land and sea border security both at the port level, at the regional level and at the national level so that we can holistically plan the nature of Ghanaian borders”
According to the SGI, the agreement also provides pace for certain joint activities that must be taken in the nature of training, equipment sharing, and infrastructure sharing, among others.
Representatives from all the agencies have pledged their commitment to adhere to the terms and conditions spelt out in the document.
Addressing dignitaries at the event, GRA’s Commissioner of Customs, Mr Isaac Crentsil explained that, the efforts of any single border agency, no matter how well intended, would still struggle without close collaborations with other border agencies.
“These shortfalls could create gaps in the movement of goods and persons across borders and leave room for smuggling and exploitations”, he said.
The MoU which was supervised by the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Oquaye, forms part of the Ghana-USA Security Governance Initiative (SGI) to harness best practices in border security.
The first of its kind coordinated approach by border agencies both local and international is an affirmation of the World Customs Organization’s Smart borders initiative.
In 2016, the Government of Ghana (GoG) signed the Security Governance Initiative (SGI) charter to advance Ghana’s capacity to manage threats in the areas of the maritime, border, cybersecurity among others.
SGI partner countries such as Kenya, Nigeria, Niger, Tunisia, Mali and other countries in Africa also have expressed similar interests in tandem with requirements under various ECOWAS and African Union protocols.