As part of measures to improve the ease of doing business at the country’s ports, Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) – an anti-corruption organization – has organized its third quarterly business integrity forum by constituting a multi-stakeholder business integrity forum to address a number of challenges at the ports.
Instructively corruption on the part of both port authorities and their private sector customers is widely seen as the cause of inefficiency at the ports.
The purpose of the forum was to highlight and find solutions to the challenges faced by importers during the clearing process; elicit responses and workable proposals for addressing identified challenges; and institute a roadmap for follow ups for the resolution of such challenges.
To achieve all this, the GII assembled key representatives from the Ghana Ports and Habours Authority (GPHA), the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF) to provide key insights on the matter.
Among some challenges facing the ports are several administrative bottlenecks including human and technical inefficiencies associated with revenue mobilization at the ports among other issues. According to GII, despite some laudable interventions introduced by government, such as the Cargo Tracking Notes (CTN) and the Paperless Port Clearance, these initiatives are yet to yield the expected results.
Speaking during the multi-stakeholder business integrity forum in Accra on Wednesday, the Executive Director of GII, Mrs. Linda Ofori-Kwafo said several factors such as collusion between importers and their agents on the one side, and public officials and influential politicians on the other, serve to defraud the state of revenues due it through tax evasion, extortion and bribery and indeed corruption may account largely for the country’s inability to mobilize its targeted revenues.
“Clearly, if the vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid is to be realized, then institutions responsible for revenue mobilization and utilization will have to be more efficient”, she noted.
Key institutions such as the GPHA and the Customs Division of the GRA admitted their shortfalls contributing to the delays in the clearing process, but agreed on the need to collaborate effectively to remove all the bottlenecks being encountered in the clearing process.
The theme for the event was “Promoting Effective and Efficient Business Environment Within Our Ports: A Case of Cumbersome Clearing Process”.