The Minister of Trade and Industry, Haruna Iddrisu has directed the Ghana Revenue Authority, the Immigration Service and other relevant agencies to ensure that no vehicle spends more than two hours at Ghana’s borders with neighboring countries.
Making specific mentioning of the Ghana-Togo border, the minister stressed that the directive takes effect from Friday, February 22, 2013.
Haruna Iddrisu was speaking on Thursday at the second Borderless Alliance conference in Accra. The alliance is a collaboration of private companies to promote and facilitate regional trade and reduce transport costs and delays across West Africa.
The Minister underscored that what Africa needs to improve the living standards of its people is not aid but trade.
He also challenged the Borderless Alliance to be honest to name and shame countries whose actions impede free movements and trade in the sub-region.
He further announced that the country would in the near future reduce the security checks which operate “under the guise of national security” at the various imports.
He reiterated President John Mahama’s instruction to the Ministers of Transport and Finance to undertake an investigation of unauthorized fees and charges at Ghana’s airport and ports which are putting unbearable hardship on importers.
Dr Kofi Mbeah, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority, said the world is in the technology age and therefore recommended to governments in the sub region to put in place appropriate measures to phase out human interface at the ports and make use of more technology.
He said it has become habitual for personnel detailed at borders to take bribes from transporters, stating that persons who refuse to pay bribes are made to delay unduly.
Mr Ziad Hamoui, President of the Borderless Alliance, condemned the mounting of “illegal barriers” and what he said was “double checking” on the road, decrying that most transporters have continuously been harassed at these points.
He said the unlawful checks and bribes contribute to the high food prices on the market.
“It is time for us to build bridges between our nations and to collaborate in solving our common problems.”
The Borderless Alliance was initiated in March 2012, and Mr Hamoui remarked that it has achieved so much within the short period.
He noted, “Our advocacy is evidenced-based, action-driven and private sector oriented. We want to provide the private sector with a common, credible platform to voice its local authorities and regional governments in order to solve urgent issues of regional barriers to trade and transport.”