DRIVING GROWTH

Ghana 2016 | TRANSPORT | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to the Hon. Joyce A. B. Mogtari, Deputy Minister for Transport, on the recognition of Ghana's excellence in port management, supporting economic growth, and the role of PPPs.

Hon. Joyce A. B. Mogtari,
BIOGRAPHY
Hon. Joyce Mogtari earned a degree in Law in 1997 from Holborn College, University of London and was called to the Ghana Bar in 2000. She holds a Master’s in Maritime Law from the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI) in Malta, where she received an IMO Legal Committee Chairman’s Award for Best Overall Performance in International Transport Law. Before joining the Ministry in 2013, she was the Head of the Legal Unit of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority. Joyce is a member of the African Women Lawyers Association (AWLA), the Women in International Shipping and Trade Association, (WISTA) and the Ghana State Alumni.

The Port Authority of Ghana was recently judged as the preferred port in West Africa. How are you building on that success?

The port has shown substantial leadership and vision and we are proud of this achievement. The port facilities of course needed to be expanded. Maritime Port Services is investing $1.5 billion in Tema port's infrastructure, building deeper berths of 16m, as well as adding two additional lanes to the linking motorway, transforming it into a six-lane road. The port has modernized the facilities and we are developing an e-clearance process. We have since introduced a single-window platform to make the cargo clearance process more efficient by way of processing the bills of lading and other documents for cargo clearance. We are an import-dependent country, and we receive cargo for our landlocked neighbors. Another development that the Tema port is trying to do is build a dividing terminal so that all containerized carrying vehicles and cars will be going to that terminal, where the removal will take place. We are also developing a container terminal, so instead of having all the containers stay within the port waiting to be moved, they can stay outside of the ports while the owners of the containers pay for them. We are also looking at building a new car terminal.

How are the expansions of the Takoradi Port supporting wider economic growth?

The western region has become, in recent times, home to not only most of our mineral resources, but also oil, which means that we automatically need to expand the port of Takoradi. The first thing that we have done is engage a Dutch company, which has been doing the reclamation works. The first one has been duly completed and the firm will return shortly for Phase II, which will include further reclamation of additional land. Once we have done that we will have to fully develop a new port facility. The port is aggressively looking for partners to develop its facilities. With the additional interest in the oil and gas industry, I am hopeful that we should not have any challenges in attracting direct investment to build the port up.

You have also overseen a boost in Accra's public transport systems. What role have PPPs played in these developments?

PPPs help reduce the government's burden, as we no longer need to find money to satisfy the equitable or mobilization costs of these transactions. The private sector is also profit driven and often operates more efficiently. We are currently piloting the bus Rapid Transport system to use the terminals that we have been developing over the past few years. We are also trying to develop some dedicated lanes to reduce travel times and make the process more attractive to passengers. We have now taken delivery of nearly ten rapid transit buses from Scania in Sweden, which has set up a maintenance workshop in Ghana. The pilot program is ongoing and we are supposed to oversee that for the next six months, after which point we will be taking delivery of additional buses from the same company to fully implement the bus Rapid Transit system. We currently have just ten buses, but we intend to acquire 100. We have processed the next 60, which we hope to get soon. While visiting Ghana, the Italian Prime Minister and His Excellency, the President, discussed the prospects of Italian manufacturer Iveco. We are now working on a draft MoU that we hope can facilitate greater acquisition for the Metro Mass Transit Company. With all of the challenges that we have today, it would be great if the company had between 200-300 buses that could operate routes at least in the regional capitals. This would encourage competitors to be reasonable with the fares.