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Port officials allay concerns over Joint Inspection

Container boxes are seen at the Yangshan Deep Water Port, part of the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, in Shanghai

With only two weeks to the implementation of the joint inspection on July 1, 2018, port officials say they are set for the exercise despite concerns that the exemption of some agencies could pose health and security challenges.

The joint inspection which was earlier scheduled to start in June, was rescheduled to make way for stakeholder engagements.

It forms part of government’s efforts to improve efficiency at the country’s ports.

With the new arrangement, only the Ghana Standards Authority, the Food and Drugs and Authority and the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority will inspect imported goods simultaneously, instead of the about 16 agencies previously undertaking the task.

The Veterinary Services Directorate has expressed its disappointment over the new arrangement saying its role is crucial as the unit prevents dangerous animal products from entering the country.

Also, Security Analyst, Dr. Kwasi Aning says the new arrangement can compromise the country’s security status.

But speaking to Citi Business News on their readiness, the Acting CEO, of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Edward Osei said the excluded agencies will still support with the inspection.

“One laboratory is going to run all the tests. The sample that the FDA will take will be tested for everything that the other agencies need,” he stated.

Currently, all the agencies take their own samples and run independent tests. Importers have described the situation as expensive and time consuming.

Responding to the security concerns, Mr. Osei noted that “If they have intelligence that a certain container is compromised, then definitely they will be part of the exercise, otherwise they can’t be part of the inspection of every other container with no reason.”

Mr. Osei also disclosed that training of Port officials as well as a mock run has begun ahead of the implementation of the exercise.

Vice President Dr. Muhamadu Bawumia directed the institutions to among other things begin the joint inspections by September last year as part of efforts to reduce the time spent by importers as well as monies paid in demurrage.

By: Nana Oye Ankrah/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana

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