…Dzifa Attivor Alarmed
By Alfred Dogbey
It has emerged that out of seventeen member countries that formed the Union of African Shippers Councils (UASC), Ghana and Mali, are the only countries among the union yet to implement the Advanced Shipment and Information (ASHI), a new system of clearing goods from the ports.
The delay in the implementation, according to Secretary-General of UASC, Saley Adamu Abdourahamane, would lead to grave insecurity in the shipping industry in Ghana.
According to the man from DR Congo, the new clearing system when implemented, would help security agencies to track dangerous gadgets or substances, including the arms and ammunition hidden in the goods when they arrive. It will also help to detect fraud.
The Secretary-General, who is currently in the country on assessment mission together with some executive members of the union, was speaking during a courtesy call on Transport Minister; Madam Dzifa Aku Attivor, on Wednesday.
Mr. Abdourahamane, told the Minister that due to the presence of ASHI in other countries, security threats at the ports are easily discovered and used in fighting fraud, as well as cargo traceability.
He said in terms of revenue, other countries like, Burkina Faso and Cote D’ Ivoire, have had their revenue generations increased significantly. This information, the Secretary-General said, was confirmed to him by the Custom officials of these countries during a meeting with them.
Madam Dzifa Attivor, who was alarmed, told the delegation that she was particularly concerned about security aspect of the entire issue since, “Ships can come to our country’s ports with all manner of dangerous substances..”
The Transport Ministry, she noted was fully in support of the ASHI and assured that it would continue to engage and corporate with the stakeholders, as well as the freight forwarders in order to ensure smooth implementation of ASHI.
Meanwhile, The Herald, has learnt that, the new system would rather favour and improve businesses of stakeholders if implemented.
The industry players are not in support of the move and have indicated their readiness to carry out a demonstration against the implementation. Prior to the threat, they had demanded for time to educate themselves on the new system.
The introduction of the new system was supposed to have being operational on March 1, but has been angrily kicked against by some freight forwarders in the Shipping Industry.
They threatened to divert their shipments to other countries if the regulatory body, the Ghana Shippers Authority, does not rescind its decision to implement the system.
President John Dramani Mahama, earlier last year, announced government’s efforts to introduce a new system at the nation’s ports which will make clearing of goods by importers and exporters easier.
The President, made the announcement on April 7, when he met Ghanaian community in Belgium after taking part in the 4th EU-African summit.
The move, he indicated was also aimed at decongesting the ports.
Meanwhile, the delegation was informed that the ASHI would hopefully be implemented latest by April 9, after successful engagement with the stakeholders in the industry.