Ghana urged to position ports for more traffic from Niger

The Nigerien economic operators as well as relevant government ministries and agencies responsible for trade are calling on the Ghanaian port authority and key trade facilitators to position the Ghanaian corridor to attract more traffic from Niger.

 

This is in view of unfair trade practices implemented on competing francophone corridors used by economic operators from Niger.
Niger and the two other neighbours, Mali and Burkina Faso are the three main Land Locked Countries (LLCs) in the West Africa sub-region, who are traditionally aligned in using the seaports of Francophone countries of Senegal, Guinea, Cote D’ivoire, Togo and Benin to participate in international trade.

However, due to inefficiencies, high cost of operations, poor transportation networks, delays and political instability in these countries, economic operators in the LLCs have realised the need to diversify their use of seaports in the sub-region to impact positively in the lives of their citizenry.

Transit traffic through the two ports of Ghana has over the last four years steadily recorded annual growth from 609,320 metric tonnes in 2014 to 1,249,336 metric tonnes in 2017, representing an increase of 105 per cent.

 

Despite the positive trend, Niger’s traffic through the two Ghanaian ports has taken the opposite direction with trade decreasing from 50,224 metric tonnes to 18,195 metric tonnes in 2017 representing a decrease of 64 per cent within the same period.

It appears, the opportunities that abound on the Ghanaian corridor and its sea ports is fast receiving acknowledgment throughout the Sahelian region as economic operators and governmental institutions request Ghana to avail itself to capture the Nigerien transit market.

During a Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority initiated five-day Trade Mission to Niamey, the capital of Niger, a delegation led by the Board Chairman of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Mr Peter Mac Manu and including the Director General of GPHA, Mr Paul Asare Ansah, assured the government and Economic Operators of Niger that Ghana had prepared itself to offer every assistance needed to allow commercially viable and cost effective importation and exportation by the people of Niger through Ghana’s ports and corridors.

The delegation which also included, a Deputy Commissioner of Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Alhaji Abubakar Seidu, representatives of the Ghana Shippers Authority, Ghana Police Service, Ghana Chamber of Commerce, directors of Port Terminals and Management of Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority as well as Mrs Esther Gyebi-Donkor, General Manager of Marketing Corporate Affairs and David Songotu, GPHA’s representative to the Sahelian countries, praised the existing good relations between Niger and Ghana which is being sustained by Presidents Mahamadou Issoufou and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

The Minister of Trade and Private Sector Promotion of Niger, Mr Alma Uomarou, told the delegation that, currently there was a law in Benin that  introduced a new cut throat tax on the economic operators of Niger which had consequences for trade relations between Niger and Benin.

 

He, therefore, called on Ghana to position itself to capitalise on the current situation and attract the economic operators of Niger to the Ghanaian corridors.

On his part the Minister of Industry of Niger, Mr Seydou Sadou also commended the Ghanaian Trade Mission Delegation and urged Ghana to advance its lead in the international trade market within the sub-region.

He assured the Ghanaian delegation of his support and collaboration from the government of Niger.

At their turn economic operators expressed concern about agencies like Customs and urged Ghana to address all challenges surrounding certificates of origin on merchandise that come from Ghana.

They also appealed to the delegation to assist in addressing a major concern regarding a private terminal operator, Bollore Transport and Logistics Company, which had been licensed by the Government of Niger to weigh/handle all laden trucks using the Ghana-Burkina Faso stretch to Niger. “The siting of the Bollore Terminal coupled with their charges is making the Ghanaian corridor expensive. We appeal to Ghana’s ports to bridge the language barrier between the two countries by increasing information flow in the French language.

 

 

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