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Aviation Ministry woos more local airlines

The Ministry of Aviation has told Citi Business News it is seeking to give opportunities to more airlines to operate in Ghana’s domestic aviation industry.

The move according to the Ministry, is to deepen competition and grow Ghana’s transport sector.

The Minister of Aviation, Cecilia Dapaah who mentioned the plan to Citi Business News explained that this will include efforts to drive down cost of operation for airline companies.

Madam Dapaah also maintains that the policy should increase patronage by consumers of air transport.

“About one million passengers come to Ghana every year and they definitely do that via air and that is not in doubt and it is very significant that we link up all regions. I have started making some rounds with the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts and we mean to have a permanent joint committee to look at all these areas,” she stated.

Madam Dapaah added, “I have had an audit of airports, airstrips and helipads in Ghana so we have a big view that we are using as a lens to make sure we open up each region.”

Upon assuming office, the NPP government has removed the 17.5% VAT on domestic air tickets.

In addition, the cost of aviation fuel has been reduced to match with others within the sub-region.

Currently, Africa World Airlines and Starbow are there are only two airlines operating domestic flights in Ghana.

Three others; Antrak Air, Fly540 Gh and CityLink are yet to come back after suspending their operations for a couple of years now.

Earlier, Deputy Aviation Minister, Kwabena Okyere Darko also indicated his outfit’s readiness to drive competition in the aviation space.

 

Source: citifmonline

Spanish Navy patrol vessel ‘Infanta Cristina’ visits Sekondi port

The navy vessel is in Ghana to carry on training activities and cooperation exercises with the Ghanaian Navy

A Spanish Navy Vessel, “Infanta Cristina,” will visit Sekondi port from September 25 to October 1, 2017,  to carry on training activities and cooperation exercises with the Ghanaian Navy.These activities are usual between both navies, as well as cooperation between Spanish and Ghanaian Armed Forces.

The training exercises that the Spanish Navy Ship “Infanta Cristina” will conduct with the Ghanaian Navy, include maritime security, medical assistance, scuba diving and damage control activities.

“Her deployment along the West African coast will last four months visiting several countries apart from Ghana, such as Cape Verde, Mauritania, Senegal, Cameroon, Saint Tomé and Príncipe, Angola, Gabon and Ivory Coast,” the statement said.

It explained the aim of the deployment is to carry out cooperation missions with the coastal countries, within the framework of the Defense Diplomacy Plan, for the development of their naval capabilities, and to contribute to Maritime Safety and region stability.

The patrol vessel “Infanta Cristina” was the fourth “Descubierta” class corvette (F-34), built by the Spanish shipyard company “Bazán” (currently “Navantia”) in Cartagena.

The Ghana navy is the best in West Africa

She was boated on April 24th 1977 and commissioned on November 24th 1980. From September 2004 to June 2005 she was transformed to perform her new role as patrol vessel (P-77).

Patrol Vessel “Infanta Cristina” belongs to the Spanish Maritime Action Force. Her characteristics make her self-capable of operating in different scenarios, becoming a very valuable unit, not only in conventional operations but also in humanitarian and peace endurance missions.

It said nowadays, she carries out maritime surveillance and security missions over maritime areas.

The surveillance over sovereignty spaces, the fight against the illegal drug trafficking and illegal immigration, and the protection of the archeological submarine heritage are also among her multiple commitments.

 

 

 

 

Credit:

 

Port revenue up by 56% after paperless system – Bawumia

Dr Mahamudu Bawumia

The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has claimed that an initial assessment of the implementation of the paperless system at the country’s ports, has shown a revenue collection improvement of 56 percent.

According to him, revenue at the ports increased from GHc130 million in the first week of September 2016, to GHc213 million in the same period for 2017.

File. Some operations at the ports

 

 

 

“On September 1, we launched the paperless [system], but of course not without attempts to actually derail the process, because it’s hurting a lot of people who were making free money and people who used to take two weeks to clear a container after one day of delay were protesting.  Are you protesting the system or something else?”

“The results are amazing. We just looked at data this morning – first week of collections under the paperless system in September this year compared to last year first week of collections in September 2016, and collections have gone up by 56 percent; 56 percent from around GHc130 million to GHc213 million in one week,” he added.

Angry Freight Forwarders had thronged the Longroom of the Tema Port to protest over the delays in the system at the beginning.

Government began the implementation of the paperless clearing system on September 1, 2017, to speed up the process of clearing goods from two weeks to four hours, and ensure order at the port, whilst blocking loopholes.

But the aim to which the system was established experienced some hitches following which hundreds of angry Freight Forwarders thronged the Longroom of the Tema Port to protest over the delays in the system at the beginning.

 

 

 

Credit:

citifmonline.com

Paperless system backlog cleared – GRA

The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has rectified challenges that impeded the smooth take off of the paperless goods clearing system at Ghana’s ports.

Freight forwarders last Thursday protested against the excessive delays in clearing their goods blaming it on the systems breakdown at the ports.

Hundreds of angry Freight Forwarders thronged the Longroom of the Tema Port over to protest the delays in the system.

The Customs over the weekend also issued a temporary measure to guide the affected agents to clear their goods.

Speaking to Citi Business News on the development, the Commissioner for the Customs Division of the GRA, Isaac Crentsil explained his outfit has addressed the challenges.
He was however hopeful that all goods would be cleared by close of day today [Monday].

Hundreds of angry Freight Forwarders thronged the Longroom of the Tema Port over to protest the delays in the system.

“We cleared a lot over the weekend. We are hoping that by today [Monday] all would have been cleared. The officials at the Tema port are also around releasing containers. So everyone is working to address last Thursday’s challenges,” he added.

Angry Freight Forwarders at the port last Friday

 

 

 

 

GRA workers clear goods over weekend
Mr. Crentsil last Friday conceded that his staff were overwhelmed with the documents that came through the compliance unit, hence the delay in the paperless process which was supposed to last four hours instead of two weeks as had been the case previously.

He also assured that the hitches will be sorted out before Monday.

 

Commissioner for the Customs Division of the GRA, Isaac Crentsil

“What happened was that, what coming to the compliance office was more than the staff. So there was so much pile of work. So throughout the night…we are seriously working on it to clear the backlog. Hopefully by Monday, things will normalize. The work has doubled.

”In the manual system, one officer was doing about maybe ten a day but now they are doing about 20 which means the work there has doubled and that overwhelmed the staff over there. But now we have called so many officers into the compliance unit and they have been working from Friday, Saturday and then possible Sunday to clear everything,” he said on Eyewitness News last Friday.

 

 

 

Credit:

 citifmonline.com

We’ll tackle paperless system challenges today – GRA

The freight forwarders thronged the Longroom of the Tema Port on Thursday over what they described as delays in the clearance of their goods

The concerns of Freight Forwarders who thronged the Longroom of the Tema Port on Thursday over what they described as delays in the clearance of their goods at the port will be addressed today [Friday].

This is according to the Communications Chief for the Customs Excise and Preventive Service of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Paa Kow Ekumah.

According to him, the challenges experienced by the Freight Forwarders were not envisaged, because all the necessary systems had been put in place to ensure that the migration onto a paperless regime at the Port was seamless.

Speaking on Eyewitness News, Paa Kow Ekumah said, “until now we haven’t had such hassle. The concerns that you have heard are truly the case and are legitimate. We admit it. At the moment we are all in the engine room with our IT providers and we are working on resolving it,” said.

He said the relevant agencies have been engaged to ensure that the challenges are urgently addressed.

“The challenges are real, but it isn’t something we can’t overcome so by tomorrow (today Friday), we will overcome that…We have put in place all that we need to put in place to make sure that everything will work. Throughout the night we are working on it and by tomorrow [Friday] we will get to know the reason why this happened,” Mr. Ekumah added.

The government began the implementation of the paperless clearing system last Saturday to speed up the process of clearing goods, and ensure order at the port, whiles blocking loopholes.

Freight Forwarders thronged the Longroom of the Tema Port on Thursday over what they described as delays in the clearance of their goods

 

 

 

 

But barely a week after the project commenced, the agitated freight forwarders complained that the paperless process is slowing down their work.

The freight forwarders, before the implementation, complained that they were not educated on the processes involved, and had called on the government to suspend it.Some of the freight forwarders, who spoke to Citi News’ Elvis Washington, said, although they were promised that they would spend only four hours going through the paperless system, they are currently stranded.The Deputy Minister of Finance, Kwaku Kwarteng, who went to the place to calm them down, was reportedly booed.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Concerned Freight Forwarders Association, Oheneba Kwasi Afawuah, has described as unfortunate the behavior of his members towards the Minister.

He, however, indicated that his outfit is not against the paperless regime introduced by the Akufo-Addo government, but is aggrieved they were not properly educated about the system.

 

 

 

Credit:

citifmonline.com

Video: Confusion rocks Tema Port over paperless system

Angry clearing agents verbally attacked Custom Officers, while agitating against delay in the processes

Customs Officers are having a tough time controlling clearing agents at the Tema port four days into the implementation of the paperless systems, as some are still to get clearance for their goods.

Several complaints are still to be addressed by the service.

There was bedlam today September 7, 2017, as angry clearing agents verbally attacked Custom Officers, while agitating against delay in the processes.

“We have been here since Monday and nothing is working. We don’t know who to talk to. Custom officers tell us to calm down; my brother I have calmed down since Monday. I can’t calm down again,” Solomon Debrah, a clearing agent, told Starr Business Osei Owusu Amankwaah.

Another clearing agent, Afia Yeboah said “I have paid all the necessary duties online and I have been asked to come here. I have been here since yesterday and nobody is listening to me. What kind of service are they rendering? If the country is not ready for paperless, why force it on the poor clearing agent?”

Meanwhile, the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders is calling for the establishment of localized solution centers within the port of Tema to assist in addressing challenges being faced by importers and clearing agents, in the aftermath of the implementation of the paperless system.

President of the Institute, Kwabena Ofosu Appiah, believes the apprehension by many industry players with regards to the implementation of the system will be assuaged with these call centers or localized solution centers in place.

Watch videos below:

 

 

 

 

Credit:

STARRFMONLINE

Pilot of paperless port systems kicks off today

Effective Friday, August 18th 2017, all agencies at the country’s ports will pilot the paperless clearing process ahead of official takeoff next month.

The exercise is, among others, to identify the potential shortfalls and address them for a seamless transaction on September 1, 2017.

According to officials, the pilot has become apparent considering the completion of the basic background work.

The Deputy Commissioner of Customs at the Tema Port, Richard Yawtse, who confirmed the pilot to Citi Business News, said it will help in improving the system.

A meeting by the Ghana Ports and Habours Authority( GPHA) in preparedness for the paperless system

“The object of the pilot is to see how the preparations are going to go, the coordination between the institutions, the flow of documents and then to discover any challenges that probably we may not have considered already. And then to see how we will resolve them before the first of September when we go live.”

“On Friday, we have selected a number of companies for the pilot. On the side of the agents, they have selected a number. On the side of terminal operators, we have selected a number and we begin the pilot at Tema and possibly Takoradi; so this is what the pilot is about,” he added.

The move to start a paperless regime at the ports follows a directive from the Vice President in May this year.

According to the Vice President, this will curb corruption and reduce the turnaround time for businesses.

The move to start a paperless regime at the ports follows a directive from the Vice President, Mahamudu Bawumia, in May this year

 

Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner says the outfit will continue with education to ensure all agencies are conversant with the systems.

“The discussions have not ended. We are still in discussions with all our stake holders and we are continuing the education. But you can imagine that by 1st of September, you would have discovered serious challenges or issues that we have overlooked or haven’t come to our attention yet.”

 

 

 

 

 

Credit:

citibusinessnews.com/Ghana

Indian man sues Interior Minister, Immigration boss for “illegal deportation”

Ambrose Dery- sued

An Indian who was arrested and deported in June 2017 for fraud and other offenses, has sued the Interior Minister, Ambrose Dery and the Director of Immigration, Kwame Takyi.

Ashok Kumar Sivaram insists his deportation was illegal, unfair and an abuse of office by the officers in charge of the deportation, and demands a return.

He has consequently filed a suit through his Lawyer, Gary Nimako, requesting the court to annul the deportation order and for the two respondents to facilitate his return to Ghana.

In the suit, a copy of which has been intercepted by Myjoyonline.com, the applicant is also asking the Interior Minister and the Director of Immigration to restore his work permit, once he is back in Ghana.

Background

Ashok Sivaram was involved in a legal battle with a business partner, Sachin Nambeear, who was a Director, 50% Shareholder of Jai Mai Communications Limited.

Kwame Takyi, Director of Immigration-sued

Sachin Nambeear filed a suit on January 24, 2017, at the High Court, Commercial Division 7, against Ashok Sivaram, accusing him of breaking his fiduciary duties to the company and demanding damages for same.

On May 5, 2017, the High Court, Commercial Division, appointed Messrs Ernst & Young to go into the account of Jai Mai Communications Limited, for the purposes of valuing the assets of the Company, monies, its liabilities.

 

Even before the valuation will be completed, Ashok Sivaram was arrested by CEPS officials and deported on June 1, 2017, with an order from the Interior Ministry.

The deportation order read as follows;

“WHEREAS Ashok Kumar Sivaram is a national of the Republic of India. WHEREAS Ashok Kumar Sivaram acquired and submitted a forged marriage certificate in support of his application for citizenship by registration as a Ghanaian in 2015. WHEREAS this act is fraudulent and criminal. WHEREAS in the opinion of the Minister for the Interior, the continued presence in Ghana of Ashok Kumar Sivaram is not conducive to the public good. AND THEREFORE, in exercise of the power conferred on the Minister for the Interior by Section 36 (1) of the Immigration Act, 2000 (Act 573).  This order is made this 15th day of May 2017. ASHOK KUMAR SIVARAM is hereby ordered to leave Ghana by Friday 19th May 2017 and thereafter remain out of Ghana.”

But the applicant insists the act was unconstitutional.

His lawyer, Gary Nimako, argued in the suit that, his client could not have been deported merely on the basis and suspicion of forging a marriage certificate to acquire Ghanaian citizenship.

He said, except the court, which is clothed with the power to determine acts of fraud, it did not lie with the Interior Minister to declare his client as fraudulent and proceed to deport him.

“That fraud can only be established by a Court of Law after evidence of same has been led and proof thereof established beyond reasonable doubt.

“That the conclusion by the 1st Respondent that the “continued presence of Ashok Kumar Sivaram was not conducive to the public good” was not backed by any evidential proof and thereby amounted to gross abuse of the exercise of discretionary power vested in the 1st Respondent.

“That the Deportation Order was not backed by any Executive Instrument and thereby the said Deportation was unlawful.

“That the Respondents’ decision to deport the Applicant was not fair and that as administrative officials, they were enjoined by the 1992 Constitution to act fairly, reasonably and comply with the requirements imposed on them by law.

“That the 1st Respondent in exercising his discretion to deport the Applicant ought to have been fair and candid in the exercise of that power.

“That this Honourable Court has the supervisory jurisdiction to ensure that administrative officials exercised their powers legally, that is within the confines of the law.

The case is expected to be heard tomorrow, Friday, July 21, 2017.

 

 

 

 

Credit:

Ghana|Myjoyonline.com

Maritime dispute: Ghana hopeful of victory – Agyarko

The Minister of Energy, Boakye Agyarko, has said that he is hopeful Ghana will be victorious in the on-going maritime boundary dispute with Ivory Coast in September.

Boakye Agyarko was speaking at a stakeholders’ forum on Ghana’s 10 years’ experience as a commercial oil producer in Accra organised by the Petroleum Commission.

He said a victory for Ghana will help attract more investors into the oil and gas sector.

Boakye Agyarko, Minister of Energy

“With the final judgment by September 2017, the Ghana legal and technical team has put in their very best efforts, consequently we are very hopeful of securing a favourable decision, it is expected that the ruling will provide investors with the certainty they need to make long-term investment decisions in this country,” Agyarko said.

Background

Ivory Coast is claiming ownership of the disputed TEN oil field, forcing Ghana to file a suit at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) to ward off Ivory Coast from disputed oilfields.

It filed its suit based on Article 287 Annex VII of the 1982 UNCLOS.

Cote d’Ivoire in February 2015 filed for preliminary measures and urged the tribunal to suspend all activities in the disputed area until the definitive determination of the case, dubbed: “Dispute Concerning Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire in the Atlantic Ocean.”

But the Special Chamber of the ITLOS on April 25, 2015 declined to suspend production activities in the disputed area with the explanation that “in the view of the Special Chamber, the suspension of ongoing activities conducted by Ghana in respect of which drilling has already taken place would entail the risk of considerable financial loss to Ghana and its concessioners, and could also pose a serious danger to the marine environment resulting, in particular, from the deterioration of equipment.”

Source:

pulse.com.gh

Encroachment threatens Komenda Airstrip construction

The Central region is set to be next after the Volta Region to benefit from the construction of an airstrip.

This was revealed by the sector minister Madam Cecilia Dapaah when paid a working visit to the central region .

The project is however threatened by the high level of encroachment on the 3,000 acre land earmarked for the facility, the minister said.

The airstrip which will be sited at Ataabadze in the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abirem(KEEA) municipality according to the sector minister Madam Cecilia Dapaah will accommodate light aircraft and also boost domestic flight .

The construction of the airstrip, she added,  will boost economic activities in the region especially in the area of tourism .

She added that it will also help deal with the huge traffic in accessing the central region.

More tourists ,she added will be attracted in to the Central region as the region even boasts of many and rich tourists site including the Kakum National Park , castles and forts .

Speaking to the media during a familiarisation tour of the site for the airstrip construction , Madam Cecilia Dapaah expressed the commitment of government to bring about substantial improvement in the aviation sector hence constructing new airstrips and airports in various parts of the country .

The move, she added will indeed open the country to the international community through economic and tourism promotion as more  investors will even be attracted into region and country as a whole .

Though she fell short in providing timelines for the start and completion of the project, Madam Cecilia Dapaah called on authorities in the area to stop the encroachment on the project site so as not to jeopardize the smooth construction of the airstrip .

Source: StarrFMonline.com
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