A hint on a ‘mad rush’ for employment at our country’s ports which is growing, was brought out forcefully by the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia. He volunteered an information to the surprise of many Ghanaians that, of late many people have been calling on him to help them get employed at the ports. the question therefore is. What is at the ports that everyone wants to go for? The answer to this question has been given by many knowledgeable Ghanaians including the late President John Mills.

He once remarked that many workers of the ports acquire wealth through dubious means saying that they have acquired buildings and other properties shortly after being employed. Angry President John Evans Atta Mills had to Storm the Tema Port to confront Custom Excise and Preventive Service and the Port Security staff after Anas “Enemies of the Nation’ Video was released. He was incensed over startling revelations of bribery and corruption uncovered by the investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas.The investigative piece exposed how the country has been denied of due revenue by corrupt officials who in collusion with private companies at the harbor under-declare imported goods. This goes to support the assertion by the vice president that the mad rush for jobs at our ports might be fishy. Henceforth only honest men and women must go for jobs at the ports.

Dr Bawumia’s thought was captured at a one-day port conference in Accra on the theme “Improving Port Efficiency and Trade Facilitation in Ghana” on Wednesday 17 May. He told the participants of the conference that the government would find solutions to problems at the ports in no time adding that resolution at the conference would not be shelved but would be implemented. As part of the effort to improve operations at the ports Government has announced plans to fully automate the Tema and Takoradi ports effective September 1, 2017 to reduce human interference in operations and improve turnaround time. This would also reduce human factors that promote shady deals.

Although some critics have said the move will result in job losses the vice president rejected allegations that port reforms to be introduced by government as part of measures to improve efficiency will lead to job losses.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with the media at the conference Dr Bawumia said: “…In Dubai, Singapore, Antwerp, the ports have been automated, but it did not lead to job losses. In Dubai, for example, they automated very well and did not lose even one job but maintained, retrained and deployed people. So there is no inconsistency with automation and innovation and the creation of more jobs. In fact, we expect that with efficiency at the ports, the gateway to the economy, more jobs would be created in the economy and that is what we are trying to do.”
The Tema and Takoradi Harbors are the ports through which goods meant for us and our neighboring nations are imported to the nation. it is an indisputable fact that poor handling of goods at the ports and corruption have led to the nation losing considerable amount of revenue meant for Ghana’s development. It is our prayer all those required to take part in implementing the reform programs would put in efforts to realize the goals set for the nation

By Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai