By Laudia Sawer, GNA
Tema, March 15, GNA - The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) is to initiate a Port Infrastructural Development Fund to finance future port expansion projects.
Mr Paul Asare Ansah, Acting Director General of the GPHA, announcing this said it would help solve the problem of relying on foreign organizations for such needed expansions at the country’s ports.
Mr Ansah said this on Monday, when the Parliamentary Select Committee on Trade, Industry and Tourism, paid a working visit to the GPHA headquarters and the Tema Port.
He noted that the development of such a fund was long overdue as according to him, if suggestions from him for its introduction in 2001 were pursued, the GPHA would have been able to finance the ongoing 1.5 million Dollars Tema Port expansion without the involvement of foreign establishments.
He explained that even though the current arrangement was a necessity, it deprived the country of some revenue which could have remained in the country if GPHA had financed the project or was doing it in partnership with local organization.
He observed that such infrastructural development and its related financing in the Western countries were only opened to European and American partners as a way of protecting their national interest.
The Acting Director General indicated that it was worrying that Ghanaian establishments lacked the financial capacity to partner the Port, therefore calling for the development of local entrepreneurs that had strong financial backing for such projects.
He however stated that unlike other West Africa Ports, that mostly used full private monopoly to finance such projects, the GPHA structured its own for a joint partnership even though the World Bank was knocking on its doors to opt out of it and grant a full landlord status to the port.
On the current partnership with the Meridian Ports Services (MPS) and its partners Bollore Transport and Logistics, and the APM Terminals, he stated that the GPHA under his leadership would take a second look at all agreements and contracts.
Mr Ansah added that it would decide whether to review or maintain a contract after the totality of it has been looked at in terms of its conditionality and the protection of Ghana’s interest.
Mr Daniel Titus Glover, Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Trade, Industry and Tourism, said the visit was part of the Committee’s official work to receive firsthand information on the challenges faced by companies that fell under them.
Mr Glover said the Port was involved in a lot of trade activities therefore the need to visit the place adding that they were impressed with the briefing on security, blocking of revenue leakages and automation.
He noted that he was confident that the acting Director General would bring continuity into the operations of the GPHA as he rose through the ranks of the Authority.