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Business News of Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Source: GNA

West Africa trade group bemoan travelling barriers


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Accra, Dec. 16, GNA - The West Africa Trade Hub (WATH) on Tuesday said despite persistent efforts to get governments to lower barriers and reduce travelling cost among countries in the sub-region, the checkpoints were still in place in many of these countries. In its fifth report on Improved Road Transport Governance, the WATH said there was a 12 per cent increase in checkpoints along the corridors of Tema-Ougadougou, Lome-Ougadougou and Ouagadougou-Bamako at the end of last September.

The Improved Road Transport Governance project regularly surveys corridors to measure the number of checkpoints and the extent of delays and bribery caused by police, customs and military agents. The results of the analysis of the data collected from surveys of truckers using the improved road transport governance trade corridors shows Ouagadougou-Bamako corridor has the greatest checkpoints. There are about 36 stops per trip, a ratio of 3.95 stops per 100 kms during the reporting period. The reports state the high density is mainly a result of the high number of checkpoints in Mali.

The Lome-Ouagadougou stands out in the report for having the least number of checkpoints with 18.3 stops and the ratio of 1.80 stops per 100 kms. Improper stops are due in large part and by order of magnitude to the police and customs agent in Mali. Analysis in the report states that the highest level of bribery occurs on the Ouagadougou-Bamako corridor with 40,850 FCFA collected on average per voyage.

With 31,509 FCFA average bribes collected along the length of the corridor, Mali beats the record of the highest level of bribes collected by any country and by corridor during one voyage. The Tema-Ouagadougou corridor recorded the lowest level of bribery with 13,770 FCFA.

The report also indicated that the agencies most responsible for collecting bribes were the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service in Ghana, followed by police and customs in Burkina Faso, and the customs and police in Togo.

Mr Joe Lamport, coordinator of communication of WATH, said the report aimed to reduce the cost of moving cargo in West Africa by exposing bribery and delays on major road corridors in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali and Togo.

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