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Business News of Thursday, 26 May 2016

Source: B&FT

Let’s look beyond intrusive inspections - Dr. Mbiah

Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA), Dr. Kofi Mbiah, has indicated that the country will not be able to reap the benefits of containerised trade with intrusive inspections of goods at the ports.

He said: “Intrusive inspections of goods at the ports by Customs officials remains a major challenge to cargo trade in the country.

“As a country, we must go beyond that practice if the country could realise the benefits of containerised trade to support the growth of the economy,” he said in a presentation to the Transport Minister, Fifi Kwetey, on the operations of the authority.

Dr. Mbiah therefore appealed to the minister to push for the implementation of the Advanced Shipment Information (ASHI) as it will enhance risk assessment measures to cut down on intrusive examination to save shippers the cost of having to pay for demurrages due to seizure of containers.

According to him, the effective implementation of the system—as a component of the National Single Window—will help to secure government revenue, enhance goods profiling by way of advanced information on imports as well as lead to more reliable shipping data for statistical services.

Dr. Mbiah said: “With ASHI, government will be able to secure its revenue through quality data assurance, provide stress-free clearance and timely release of cargo to the shipper, and help government to make informed decisions based on reliable shipping data.”

According to the shippers’ boss, GSA has a four-year strategic plan that seeks to fortify and enhance the image of the organisation, develop a comprehensive programme that will promote the interest of shippers, enhance infrastructure for shipper competitiveness as well as develop appropriate measures to broaden its revenue base while streamlining expenditure.

He said, in the bid to push shipper competitiveness, the authority will work to improve port infrastructure, leverage technology to boost information flow and logistics solutions in line with the demands of the digital environment.

He indicated: “In the coming years, the GSA will seek to undertake new projects, especially in the areas of infrastructure and technology to improve services to shippers.”

Dr. Mbiah mentioned the proliferation of charges at the ports and unprofessional conducts by on the part of some shippers and agent specifically under-invoicing as key challenges undermining the sector.

He also implored the Transport Minister to help the authority to amends some of its bills before Parliament—including one that will remove the tax on transit goods to improve transit trade through the country’s corridors.