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The Port Community has just ended a 4-day trade mission to Niamey, the capital of Niger.

The trade mission which was led by the Board Chairman of Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority was initiated by GPHA as part of the Director-General, Paul Asare Ansah’s efforts to attract the transit business from the Land Locked Countries within the West African Region particularly Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

Later last year, the Port Authority led by its Board Chairman, Peter Mac Manu and supported by the Director General of GPHA, Paul Asare Ansah embarked on a similar trade mission to Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso.

This year, the trade mission to Niger was to woo the economic operators to start using Ghana’s Ports and corridors for their importation and exportation business.

Members of the delegation included Peter Mac Manu, Board Chairman of GPHA, Paul Asare Ansah, Director General of GPHA, a Deputy Commissioner of Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Alhaji Yakubu Seidu, Representatives of Ghana Shippers Authority, Ghana Police Service, Ghana Chamber of Commerce, Directors of Port Terminals and Management of Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority including Esther Gyebi-Donkor, General Manager of Marketing Corporate Affairs and David Songotu, GPHA’s representative to the transit countries.

The delegation interacted with economic operators from different associations as well as individual importers and exporters.

The Board Chairman of GPHA, Peter Mac Manu assured the Niger economic operators of how prepared Ghana’s Ports are to make doing business easy and cost effective for the people of Niger and urged them not to make Cultural differences a barrier.

“Be it Customs, be it Shipping, be it Transportation, be it the police, please feel free and let us know so that we will be able to deal with it, because for us, Ghana and Niger stand shoulder to shoulder to grow our economic cooperation”, he said.

The economic operators in Niger also commended Ghana for the effort to capture the Niger Market and admitted that the people of Niger always considers Ghana’s Ports as the best but a few challenges such as the implementation of the Axle Load Policy and some manipulations by private businesses, operating in Niger is what is not encouraging them to use Ghana’s Ports and corridors.

“This is a good opportunity because if you can have the process fees cheaper by going to Ghana Port Authority, then even if you have to order via the pay port, we can ask them to go to Ghana”, the Managing Director of CAIMA, Niger, Haruna Mahamudu said.

Members of the Ghanaian Trade Delegation took turns to assure the importers and exporters of Niger that all concerns raised will be vigorously pursued and earnestly addressed to make doing business through Ghana’s ports and corridors the best.

“In short we are ready to establish the relationship we have had in the past, it is true that in the past we encountered certain difficulties. Some we were able to resolve, others we were not able to resolve, but today all of us who are involved in the transit business have a clear understanding of what you need and for that matter there should not be an excuse that there is an issue we cannot resolve. We will put our heads together to resolve any issue that crops up between us as a port and as Nigerian economic operator”, theDirector General of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Paul Asare Ansah reposed.

“Niger is a member of ECOWAS and we will all go by it, so with reference to the duty rate we don’t have any challenge. There is the internal taxes that are vat and others but we assure you that as long as agric products are concerned and most of the items, we will always facilitate the aim.Even though we are mandatory to collect taxes, internationally too we are now to facilitate trade. So we will do everything to ensure goods in transit to also in line with international convention, to ensure that the products move as fast as possible”, the Deputy Commissioner of the Customs division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Alhaji Yakubu Seidu explained.

“The overage issue of over ten years is for Ghana and not for your country. So if you are bringing a vehicle to Niger, they do not have to apply that to you”, the General Manager of Marketing Corporate Affairs, Esther Gyebi-Donkor. The trade mission also met some private operators one of which accepted to be GPHA’s ambassador in Niger to woe other economic operators to use Ghana’s ports. He said he could vouch for the quality of services and good security at Ghana’s Ports.

“The reasons why I love Ghana so much is that Ghana has high security, and if you come to Ghana for business purposes, you are most welcome so you already feel at home and this is something that I really”, he said.

“All the biggest clients who go to Ghana, this is his biggest wish”, he said.

Solomon ANDERSON (Ghana Web)

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