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General News of Monday, 3 December 2012

Source: B&FT

Customs, Police least bribe-takers in W/A

Ghanaian policemen and customs officers take the least bribes -- compared to their Francophone counterparts -- from drivers plying six primary trade corridors in the sub-region, according to the 20th Road Governance Report issued by USAID West Africa Trade Hub.

The Road Governance Report is an initiative on six primary trade corridors -- Tema-Ouagadougou, Ouagadougou-Bamako, Lomé-Ouagadougou, Dakar-Bamako, Abidjan-Ouagadougou, and Abidjan-Bamako -- which present quarterly information on checkpoints, bribes and delays on these routes.

The 20th edition covered the second quarter of 2012 and found that the bribe per 100km was US$1 in Ghana, the lowest among the six countries. Mali topped on bribes with more than US$8 collected from drivers per 100km.

Among border posts, the Ghana-Burkina Faso border post of Paga took an average bribe of US$2 from drivers. In contrast, Heremakono -- a Malian border with Burkina Faso -- recorded the highest average bribes: about US$33 for a legal truck heading to Bamako.

The report said bribes on the Tema-Paga corridor decreased by 28%, while delays dropped by 37%. Controls, however, increased by 7%.

“Despite the rise in controls, the trend is positive in Ghana which now collects the least bribes of the six countries monitored by the initiative,” the report stated.

In general, for the six countries, all three primary indicators -- bribes, checkpoints, and delays -- witnessed a decrease, and the report described as “encouraging” the fact that the decrease happened in every country monitored.

Compared to the previous quarter’s data (the 19th report), the number of controls overall dropped by 5%, bribery by 21%, and delays by 2%. But despite these improvements, bribes remain excessive: a legal truck will pay about US$52 in bribes on average per trip.

Although overall controls decreased by 5%, Ghana proved to be an unwelcome surprise in the quarter with the highest increase -- 7% -- in the number of controls in the region. Ghana now has the second-highest number of controls, just behind Mali.

The Road Governance Initiative on primary trade corridors is a joint effort of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and the Economic Community of West African states (ECOWAS), implemented in 2005 with technical and financial assistance from USAID West Africa Trade Hub.

The objective of the initiative is to promote good road transport governance on the six primary trade corridors.

The report includes two sections: the six corridors covered by the Improved Road Transport Governance initiative (IRTG) and the four corridors covered by the USAID Agribusiness and Trade Promotion (ATP) and Enhanced Agribusiness and Trade Promotion (E-ATP) initiatives.

The USAID ATP and E-ATP projects aim to increase the value and volume on intra-regional agricultural trade in order to attain the targetted 6% growth set by the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) of NEPAD. The two projects similarly contribute to the ECOWAS Common Agricultural Policy (ECOWAP) and the UEMOA Agricultural Policy (PAU) and its federated regional programmes.

Since the beginning of 2012, they have focused on five value chains (maize, onions/shallots, livestock/meat, millet/sorghum, and rice) along the transport corridors linking production zones to consumer markets in West Africa.

The report said the movement of these agricultural goods along West African corridors remains difficult due to the numerous checkpoints, high levels of bribery and long delays.

“The extent of the road governance problems is stupefying. The consequences severely harm the national and regional economies. Nevertheless, since the implementation of USAID ATP and E-ATP activities, the extent of the problem has diminished more and more.”

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