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11.11.2004 Business & Finance

Shippers Centre Commissioned at Takoradi

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Takoradi, Nov. 11, GNA - Professor Christopher Ameyaw-Akumfi, Minister for Port, Harbours and Railways has expressed Government's grave concern about unhealthy activities at the country's ports, which tended to deny the country of millions of cedis in revenue.

He said one can not lose sight of the enormous contributions that importers and exporters make towards the country's economic growth and hoped stakeholders would attend to their works with more dedication and transparency.

Prof. Ameyaw-Akumfi said these when he commissioned an ultra modern 15.1 billion Cedis Shippers Centre at Takoradi on Thursday.

The occasion also marked the opening of a three-day celebration of the 3rd National Shippers' Day, which is under the theme: "Towards an Integrated, Efficient and Secured Logistics System for Ghana".

"I wish to register in very strong terms Government's unhappiness with the under-hand dealings such as under invoicing and collaboration with unscrupulous officials to deny Government legitimate revenue". He said the Government has now turned its attention to the accelerated development of facilities at the Takoradi port after giving the Tema port some facelift, adding, the Takoradi port would have its fair share of infrastructure development.

Prof. Ameyaw-Akumfi said the opening of the facility, which would serve as a one stop shop for shippers must be seen as part of a national programme for the effective implementation of President Kufuor's development agenda.

Prof. Ameyaw-Akumfi noted that, even though a lot more needs to be done to promote shipping activities at the Takoradi port, the volume of cargo through the port, increased from 2.9 million tonnes in 2000 to more than 3.4 million tonnes by the end of 2003

Mr Kofi Mbiah, Chief Executive of the Ghana Shippers' Council said the opening of the Centre marks a "rebirth or renaissance" of shipping in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis.

He said the three-storied centre has facilities including conference and committee rooms, a number of offices for operators in the industry, restaurant, recreational and information communication facilities. Mr Mbiah hoped the provision of the centre would go a long way to promote the activities of importers and exporters and achieve the objectives for which it was build.

He said the National Shippers Day would enable stakeholders to appraise the contribution and performance of import and export shippers to national economic growth and development.

He noted with satisfaction the efforts by the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority to provide modern infrastructure at the ports to enhance business.

Mr Mbiah, however, said despite the introduction of the Ghana Community Network (GC-Net), the level of technology remains low, as some companies were still not hooked onto the GC-Net system.

Mr Philip Kwesi Nkrumah, Shama Ahanta East Metropolitan Chief Executive said the new Shippers Centre would bolster further the efforts of making the Takoradi Port a nerve centre in the maritime industry.

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