Chairpersons Of Parliamentary Select Committees On Trade, Transport And State Enterprise Evaluate Maritime And Port Industry In 2019

The Chairpersons of the Parliamentary Select Committees on Trade and Industry, Roads and Transport, and Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises have described the year 2019 in the port and maritime trade sector as very successful.

Even though they admitted more could have been done, they maintained that the industry is developing.

“You realise that even though the industry is growing, we still have the responsibility to find out whether there were other things that they didn’t do and then direct them towards an improved growth while we monitor their progress,” Kwame Ayimadu-Antwi, Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises said.

Speaking live on Eye on Port, Samuel Ayeh-Paye, Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Roads and Transport said there have been huge investments in security by state agencies to protect Ghana’s waters.

“The Ghana Shippers’ Authority, the Ghana Maritime Authority, the Ministry of Roads and Transport have purchased speedboats that Ghana Navy and GMA are using to control the activities on our waters,” he revealed.

Kwame Ayimadu-Antwi, Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises said the committee performs an oversight role to ensure that state agencies do not deviate from public financial management act.

“At the committee level, we sit to look at your performance and activities and assess it to see whether your activities were in accordance with prudent economic measures,” he explained.  

Nana Amaniampong Marfo, Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Trade, Industry and Tourism said digitisation of the Port business is the surest way to increase government revenue and ensure the speedy clearance of goods at the Port.

“If we are able to fully digitize the port, a lot of time and money will be saved with the first class services introduced. Also, government will rake in a lot of revenue,” he expressed.

He cited the Tema Port expansion project which commenced in June 2019 as a major project which will bring immense benefits to the country.

“We have injected about 1.5 Billion Dollars in the maritime business, because we know that in the long haul, Ghana stands to benefit a lot. We are on the right path.”

Samuel Ayeh-Paye, who doubles as the Member of Parliament for Ayensuano said there is the need for the country to add value to its raw materials before exporting them in order to rake in more foreign exchange for the country. 

He also lauded the paperless system at the Port which he said has brought a lot of relieve to importers.

“You can sit at the comfort of your home and transact business which has made the work of agents and importers easy because all they have to do is present their documents at the port and you can clear your containers. This is good news,” he praised.

Nana Amaniampong Marfo who also doubles as the Member of Parliament for Afigya Kwabre North said Ghana stands to benefit immensely from hosting the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat with an economy of 1trillion dollars. 

He said major automobile companies will be setting up their factories in the country in 2020.

Samuel Ayeh-Paye and Kwame Ayimadu-Antwi, commended government for the reductions in benchmark values and home delivery values of goods and cars respectively and entreated traders to let the reductions reflect on the market.

“My challenge is the transfer of this reduction to the consumer or end-user. Sometimes it is difficult for us to know if there has been a difference. Traders have been saying its old goods, but it has been a while, yet reductions do not reflect. Vehicle prices especially haven’t changed much. So I appeal for a change,” Samuel Ayeh-Paye entreated.

“Government would have to evaluate and find out why there is that gap regarding the absence of the reductions reflecting on the market and bring in the necessary solutions,” Kwame Ayimadu-Antwi added.

He advocated for Cabinet to empower the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority to have the powers of an overarching agency to steer all affairs surrounding the port and maritime trade.

“If the port is not operating at optimal level, who would be blamed? GPHA and not Ministry of Finance or Ministry of Environment and Science but GPHA. So, GPHA must position itself as a landlord,” Samuel Ayeh-Paye stated.

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