GPHA to crack down on illegal ports

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The Ghana Ports and Harbours (GPHA) has begun an operation to stop the development of small ports along the country’s coast.
    In fact, a task-force has been formed to executive the will of the Authority in line with its enabling legislation, the Ghana Ports and Harbours law  {PNDCL 160 of 1986}, which makes the GPHA the sole governmental authority, authorised and mandated to plan, build, develop, manage, operate and control port facilities in the country.
     According to statement issue by the GPHA on the issue, it said,” Any port, harbour,
marina, jetty or berth development related activity that is, or is being, carried out without due process and the formal consent and approval of the GPHA as provided for under PNDCL 160 of 1986, constitutes an illegality and subject to sanctions or prosecutions and other consequences.”
      There is no question about the Authority’s mandate to enforce its mandate but it is also clear that it had slept for far too long on its monitoring and evaluation activities.
     There is enough evidence to suggest that the people of Ghana need diverse means of transport which include sea, river and lake, rail, air and even cable cars but what is readily available is road transportation which in many places are bad, few and far in between.
    People who live along the coast are forced to endure bad roads and long distances to even access other coastal towns which are visible from their settlements.
    In fact, under certain circumstances, there are no alternatives to water transport which must come along with some form of anchorage.
   Take the sad case of residents along the Volta Lake and other large bubbling rivers who have to improvise to transport themselves and goods which usually result in mass casualties yet the official response they get is not tangible but a script of sympathy.
    As a country drained by many rivers and a long coastline, we need to navigate to ascertain the depth and width of these water bodies and mould appropriate crafts to ensure the safety of those who are compiled to use them for transport.
   In fact, have we even ever thought of the construction of ports or jetties or some landing platforms at traditional fording points to aid the movement of people and goods? It is the responsibility of government and going by GPHA’s enabling law, it is the sole responsibility of the Authority.
    The blame should be put at the doorsteps of the past managements of GPHA for over concentrating on the Tema and Takoradi Harbours to the neglect of river ports and sea mini ports.
    The Ghana News Agency once interviewed Mr Paul Asare Ansah, the acting Director
General of the Authority when he was the Public Relations and Marketing Manager of the Tema Port on the subject of river and mini sea ports and he proposed a fund for that purpose.
    Since his assumption of office, he has inaugurated a committee to look into the matter and we hope that the committee has the right calibre of people to come out with the right funding and engineering formula to address this concern as soon as possible.
    A man called Dr Charles Wereko–Brobbey once defied the “revolutionaries” of the last century and established a radio station which was a desperate need at a time when the gloomy “culture of silence” was receding.
     They christened him “tarzan” and closed down the station but he had the last laugh because the airwaves had to be liberalized and pluralized and now the benefits of community radio are there for all to appreciate.
  The GPHA should as a matter urgency identify suitable sites for the development of river and sea mini ports else a “tarzan” would take the lead and force the Authority to act.
GNA
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