Borderless Allianceorganized a road governance caravan as part of efforts to promote the competitiveness and performance for the northern section of the Tema-Paga road corridor from August 2 – 9, 2015. The week-long caravan was also meant to assess the level of implementation and compliance of a Ghana Police Administration directive prohibiting their personnel manning the various checkpoints along all ECOWAS transit corridors in Ghana from stopping and conducting checks on transit trucks.
Complex border procedures have always resulted in a rise in the costs of import, export and road-based transit trade in West Africa. In recent years Ghana has pursued aggressive reforms to make its ports and transit corridors more competitive for landlocked trade partners. The Port of Tema – Ghana’s main port, competes with other neighbouring ports such as the Port of Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire; the Port of Lomé in Togo; and the Port of Cotonou in Benin, for transit goods destined for landlocked countries.
Despite these reforms, various data collected along this transit corridor indicate that the costs and delays resulting from various non-tariff barriers, including harassments by police personnel at the various checkpoints, have seen deterioration rather than an improvement. A recent fact finding mission conducted on the corridor by the Transit Shippers Committee led by the Ghana Shippers Authority in July, counted 54 checkpoints of which 42 belong to the Police has. For some time now, various stakeholders have also received complaints from transit operators from the landlocked countries and other economic operators about harassment along the Tema-Paga corridor, especially by police officers at the numerous checkpoints that have been mounted. According to these reports, the Kumasi-Paga section of the corridor is the worst affected by this incessant mounting of police checkpoints.
This directive by the Police administration follows a series of meetings held between the Ghana Police Service and industry stakeholders – notably Borderless Alliance, the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA), the Burkina Shippers Council (CBC), USAID/West Africa Trade Hub and Partners Network, the ECOWAS Brown Card Secretariat, the National Road Transport Facilitation Committee (NFC), etc.; to find a lasting solution to the problems of delays and extortions arising from the mounting of these checkpoints.
As an advocacy platform, the caravan also aimed at educating both public and private sector partners and stakeholders and to raise awareness in order to strengthen political will to eliminating the identified inefficiencies, and to fight road harassment, and thereby increase overall transport competitiveness. The caravan made stops at Kumasi, Techiman, Tamale and Paga. The main activities organized at the respective stops were workshops and roadshows where various presentations were delivered to economic operators to help address some of the challenges that confront them as they ply the corridor. Some of the dignitaries who attended these workshops and roadshows included Regional Ministers (and in some cases their representatives), Regional, Divisional and District security commanders, Heads of Trade and Business Associations and several others.