Tema Port Set to Become Special Economic Zone.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry is considering the development of a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) within the Tema Port to boost trade volumes in the country.
SEZ is an industrial zone created within a specific geographical location to attract foreign investment and spark technological advancement.
Businesses operating at SEZs benefit from additional economic advantages including tax incentives and the opportunity to pay lower tariffs.
SEZ also helps to increase export levels for the country and other countries that supply it with intermediate products.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Kobina Tahir Hammond, during a working visit at Meridian Port Services (MPS) in Tema, explained that SEZ within the port enclave was a viable initiative that would propel the government’s industrialisation agenda.
Mr Hammond led a delegation from the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) to tour the KIA and also the Tema Port.
The visit enabled the minister and his delegation to familiarise themselves with the operations at KIA and Meridian Port Services Limited (MPS), particularly trade facilitation related activities such as cargo scanning and the status of deployment of the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS).
The minister walked through to the scanning facilities at the cargo import and export sections located at Aviance Ghana, Swissport and Customs Unit at the cargo village and interacted with some staff of the agencies.
The tour continued until it ended at terminal two of the Tema Port after the minister visited MPS Tema Port and other agencies at the port.
The delegation was received by institutions such as the Ghana Airport Company Limited (GACL), Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), MPS and Nick TC Scan Limited.
Mr Hammond stated that the government would provide the necessary policy direction and enabling environment to foster the creation of the SEZ within the port.
He said boosting international trade was an integral part of the government’s development agenda which included the necessary support required for enhancing the country’s trade receipts which would be provided by the government.
“The SEZ is a fantastic idea and the ministry will urgently consider it. We have been told that it will feed into increasing the volumes of export and import, thereby enhancing the operations of the port,” he said.
He said the SEZ was an economically prudent move and ensures the centralisation of businesses and attracts foreign direct investments.
The minister advised the port operators and cargo entry and exit points at the Kotoka International Airport to work towards removing all impediments in their processing that could frustrate businesses.
In an earlier interaction with managers of Nick TC Scan Limited, the company responsible for the scanning of goods for both import and export, he commended them for the investments in technology which had enhanced the speeding rate of its processes.
He further urged for continuous investments and regular training of security officials who were operating the technology to increase productivity.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Meridian Port Services, Mohammed Samara, said the company was working to make Ghana a shipping hub in the West African sub-region.
He said about six shipping lines have made the country their hub of transshipment, and so creating an economic zone would drive trade volumes and investments.
SEZ is an area in a country that is subject to different economic regulations than other regions within the same country.
The economic regulations of special economic zones tend to be conducive to—and attract—foreign direct investment (FDI).
The General Manager of Nick TC- Scan Limited, Joojo Morrison, said the company had acquired new scanning equipment with a high level of detection technology for the various cargo entry points including Hamile and Paga in the Upper West and East regions.
“We have made significant investments in our scanning systems. By the end of May, we expect the arrival of a new scanner with modern technology for the KIA Cargo checkpoint and two others which will be in the country by September this year.”
“This equipment is fixed with a robust system that is able to detect all container contents,” he added.