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GPHA-Amaris Terminal deal stokes controversy

April 24, 2017 by oilgas in News in Brief with 0 Comments

The Centre for Transport Security Dialogue (CETSED), a transport sector advocacy institute, has kicked against a Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) directive that mandates Amaris Terminal Limited as the sole authorised service provider for the scanning and pre-examination of export consignments passing through the GPHA Terminal at the Tema Port.

Although the directive has not been enforced, the institute is arguing that the directive, as it stands, is grossly unfair to other export terminal operators as it could reduce their export traffic and subsequently put them out of business.

CETSED’s Research Director, Simon Gyewu, told the B&FT in an interview that:  “The GPHA-Amaris Terminal deal, as it stand, is an attempt to monopolise export trade. We want the GPHA to come clear on its partnership with Amaris Terminal and the modalities of their agreement.”

He added that: “The arrangement, if allowed to continue, will breed cost duplication which could divert export traffic through the country’s ports and undermine government’s quest to bolster exports to balance trade.”

The letter, dated August 11, 2016, and signed by the immediate-past Director-General of the GPHA, Richard Anamoo, in part said: “…All loaded export containers, other than exempted export containers (EECs) intended for shipment at Tema Port (MPS/or Terminal One) shall first be scanned or pre-examined, as may be directed by the Ghana Customs, at Amaris Terminals before delivery to any of the port terminals.”

By this arrangement, the exporter will first have to scan and weigh his/her consignment at Amaris Terminal before moving the cargo to final container destination, where applicable handling charges will still apply.

But the CETSED is questioning why the ports operator, GPHA, which is supposed to supervise the export trade activities, should partner an export consolidator at the expense of other firms engaged in similar business.

“How can a regulator of a specific business be a key partner to a company that is into the very business that it is regulating?” Mr. Gyewu queried.

CETSED argues further that the GPHA-Amaris Terminal deal does not provide the level playing ground for all export terminal operators within the port community.

It is therefore asking the GPHA to revoke the directive and rather set-up minimum standards for export terminal operators and create a level field for them to compete.

GPHA sets up committee to review deals

Acting Director-General of the GPHA, Paul Asare-Ansah, confirmed to the B&FT that there is a joint venture between his outfit and the exports consolidator, Amaris Terminal.

However, he said, the directive authorising all export consignments to be first scanned through Amaris Terminal has not yet been enforced and that it is subject to review.

He said in an interview: “Currently, a committee has been set up to review all contracts of the GPHA, not necessarily to cancel, but to weigh the options and make such contracts more beneficial to the national economy.”

The global sea trade regulator, International Maritime Organisation (IMO), issued the container gross mass verification directive as a precautionary measure to control overloading of vessels in the bid to avert the increasing incident of loss of cargo and human lives at sea, setting July 1, 2016, as the approved date for its implementation across the globe.

Per the regulation, exports consignments will have to be weighed and scanned to meet an approved mass before they could be loaded onto vessels for export.

Amaris Terminal plays down allegations

Meanwhile, the Managing Director of Amaris Terminal, Alex Attakorah, has played down allegations of Amaris monopolising export trade.

He told the B&FT in an interview that: “Amaris Terminal is a local investor that has invested in a first-class exports terminal. As a solely exports terminal, we identified the services that exporters need and sought to create a one-stop-shop platform that will offer convenience and reduce cost.

So obviously, monopoly is not at play here because as a company, we are not sitting back and asking the GPHA to direct exports traffic to our terminal.”

According to Mr. Attakorah, the directive that has triggered concerns from the CETSED has been suspended indefinitely by the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority after a stakeholder forum, and has not been enforced, having been scheduled to take off effective September 1, 2016.

He emphasised: “The chunk of exports cargo are moved through the MPS Terminal. Besides, the major exports of cocoa and goods from the Free Zone Companies are exempted from the directive and so where is the monopoly?

He further explained that the decision to enforce the directive will only come from the Commissioner of Customs, upon whose request the GPHA-Amaris Terminal partnership was brokered.

He added: “Ours is a business that has invested in the right facilities to be able to offer convenient services to clients who are into exports. I think our competitors should have prepared adequately prior to the take-off of the verified gross mass regime.”

The B&FT has gathered that the GPHA-Amaris Terminal deal was born out of a request from Customs to the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority that they will need a dedicated terminal that will consolidate export cargoes.

Such as arrangement was to make it easier for Customs to carry out inspections and checks on exports cargo in a well-organised manner as well as address the issue of congestion and scattered exports containers at the port.

Stakeholder reactions

Isaac Dodoo, a freight forwarder for Nestle Ghana, disclosed to the B&FT that although exports stakeholders were initially “nervous” about the GPHA directive, they have come to accept the standards and services being provided by Amaris Terminal.

“At the end of the day, what we are interested in is the quality service delivery.I had a client whose auditors wanted to see where their consignments are stacked before exports, and they were happy to see the conditions in which their goods were stored prior to export at the Amaris Terminal,” Mr. Dodoo said.

President of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF), Kwabena Ofosu-Appiah, said as an open economy “there should not be any arrangement that creates the impression that certain treatments are reserved for a certain group of people”.

He acknowledged the fact that the directive has been suspended and that Amaris Terminal has nice facilities and provides timely services butalso opined that any other terminal, if it were selected, would have had to invest heavily to enhance their facility.

He told the B&FT: “For us, we thought there are several exports terminals in place and if situations are going to be changed or rearranged, then all of them should be factored into the decision in such a manner that will bring everyone into the competition.

We operate a free market economy and for that reason we should at no point be giving any signal to businesses that a certain specialty is being reserved to a select group of people; these are the things that must inform the way we want to run our business environment.”

According to Adam Imoro Ayarna, Vice President of the Ship-owners and Agents Association of Ghana (SOAAG), his outfit will go for anything that facilitates the timely and cost-effective movement of exports.

To his understanding, the GPHA directive was to avert the situation whereby the scanning of export containers will interrupt imports flow.

He indicated: “Amaris was therefore to serve as the one-stop-shop facility to facilitate the process but other terminals can invest in their facilities to meet the standard as it was not going to be restrictive.

We will go for anything that is well-structured and effective. We don’t have anything against export terminals; all we want is that the facilities should be provided and it should be cost-effective.”

Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority, Sylvia Asana Owu, told the B&FT that the verified gross mass regulation allows the shipper to weigh their containers at various points and still have it loaded onto the vessel once it meets the specified requirement.

She said for the purpose of security and to check against the export of contraband goods, the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) and National Security demanded the compulsory scanning of exports which led to the GPHA’s choice of Amaris Terminal—which has facilities for scanning and weighing—in the bid to streamline the process.

“Because it is a national security issue, such an arrangement was not a bad idea. But the mode of implementation has raised concerns of double-handling and transport costs as well as delays for persons who prefer to patronise the other off-dock terminals.

We are of the opinion that if the other off-dock terminals could invest in similar facilities including the scanners and the directive was made open to all players, then it would facilitate trade and allow export cargo to move from any terminal to the shipping line,” Ms. Asana Owu said.

Mrs. Asana Owu suggested the need for discussion between the off-dock terminals and the port authorities regarding their readiness to upgrade facilities to meet the approved security standards.

She indicated: “Ultimately we want to ensure the smooth flow of business at the port; we don’t want any situation that will add up to the cost of doing business within the port community.”

Need for effective collaboration

Mr. Alex Attakorah disclosed to the B&FT that there is huge potential for collaboration among various exports terminal operators to become efficient, boost income and meet the needs of customers better as well as drive up the economic gains of the sub-sector.

He told the B&FT: “Terminal operators are key players in the port industry and there is the need for us to collaborate effectively to harness the full potential of the business.

For instance, why should I invest in a reefer terminal when my competitor owns a reefer that is mostly idle?”


Source: thebftonline 


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Revenue mobilization from the oil sector for Agricultural production in Ghana, a myth or reality?

We are back with Penplusbytes Online Discussion on Oil and Gas. This latest episode, starting from today Monday 6th June,…

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    • Comment by Godwill Arthur-Mensah,my take on the mobilization of oil revenues

    I strongly believe that the petroleum revenues had not been strategically invested in the agricultural sector and I agree with Dr. Ishmael Ackah, the Head of Research, Monitoring and Evaluation at the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), who stated in a forum in Takradi last year that Government have not made strategic investment in agriculture because in 2014 budget, 70 percent of the agriculture budget went into the construction of  four sea defence walls projects, instead of food crop production or aquaculture.

    Currently, the cost of cassava is very high in the Western Region and in other parts of the country because the demand had outstripped supply due to decline in production.

    Over the years, growth in the agricultural sector had declined, recording growth of 7.4 per cent in 2008 followed with 7.2 per cent, 5.3 per cent and 0.8 per cent in 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively, according to statistics available to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

    It is unfortunate that Government had been replacing its normal allocation to the agricultural sector with petroleum revenues allocation as determined by the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA), instead of the Petroleum revenues complementing the usual allocations.

    Moreover, some peasant farmers in the Western Region had complained bitterly that oil and gas companies had bought arable land meant for agricultural purposes for the construction of their warehouses and thus, deprived them of their livelihoods.

    Godwill Arthur Mensah

    GNA, Regional correspondent(Western Region)

    Comments by Justice Adoboe

    Ghana must avoid making the oil and gas sector another enclave economy.

    Ghana must avoid making the oil and gas sector another enclave economy as the mining sector has been over the years. The fact that our oil sector is a very small one whose direct  impact on the economy in general is quite negligible so far is the same reason part of the revenue accruing from the sector should be re-invested in agricultural development.

    Petroleum can cease to flow tomorrow, but our arable lands which are crying for cultivation will still be  there, investing and the decisions and efforts we make today at investing in the agric sector modernization is what will determine our food security tomorrow.

    As Climate Change is becoming a reality in our case with prolonged drought, short periods of rain but causing severe flooding, especially affecting the northern sector which is Ghana’s granary and the source of legumes and many root crops, the need  of investing in  irrigation across the length and breadth of the country is no more a in doubt but an issue demanding immediate action.

    If we can invest in a quarter of the 1.9 million hectares of irrigable land the country has, we can be assured of an all-year round production of certain key food crops that we spend scarce foreign exchange importing today

    so far only 28,000 hectares of irrigable lands have been irrigated across the country, so you see why we keep importing tomatoes from Burkina Faso.

    Beyond investment in crop cultivation, we also need investment in the other portions of agriculture value chain, talking about input production, storage and timely  supply, modern harvesting, drying and storage methods and facilities.

    As we see investments coming into cocoa processing so also must we invest into food processing and marketing in order to prolong the availability of our key staples.

    If we put these things into practice, the need for GMOs for higher production won’t arise.

    Meanwhile, as we do these investments, the number of those going to be in direct cultivation would reduce, but the other portions along the value chain that would be developed, input production, storage and distribution; drying, processing; storage as well as marketing have the potential to yield more jobs that are higher paying than the sector does now.

    Taking the first step of putting money into the real needs of the agriculture sector is key. As for the reason it was the agric sector investment that had its budget slashed last year as a result of the oil price drops I think was a decision not well thought-out.

    Justice Lee Adoboe

    Senior Correspondent Accra Bureau of the Xinhua News Agency





    MESSAGE FROM DR ISHMAEL ACKAH:  Revenue mobilization from the oil sector for Agricultural production in Ghana, a myth or reality?(DISCUSSION)

    1. Is there a relationship between the fortune of the agriculture sector and a rise of the oil and gas sector?
    Answer: Yes. The oil sector affects agriculture in two main ways. First is the labour  mobility effect. The oil sector draws on the agriculture and other sectors for labour. There are instances where the youth especially leave their farms to go and look for non-existing jobs in the oil sector,. Second, increased foreign exchange into the economy can lead to the appreciation of the cedi and make agriculture inputs expensive, which will in turn make agriculture exports expensive and non-competitive. Both channels can lead to reduction in agriculture output.
    1. What are the drivers or rationale to move resources from oil and gas to agriculture sector?
    Oil resources have two main limitations. First, since oil prices are volatile, revenues are volatile too. Second, oil resources are exhaustible. Due to these reasons, countries that have been successful in managing their oil resources well diversify. Since agriculture provides a competitive advantage to Ghana in terms of fertile land, cheap labour and productive, it is important to build the agriculture sector with oil revenues to serve as a buffer during oil price shocks.
    1. Which countries are suffering a decline in agriculture due to the discovery of oil and gas?
    Nigeria was once the number 1 palm oil producer in the world before oil production started around 1958.
    1. Does Ghana have an inter-sectorial link between the Petroleum and Agriculture ministry?
    No.However, the Finance Ministry usually unofficially serve as the link between different Ministries
    1. Is it a reality that revenues from the oil sector has been mobilized for Agricultural development or not?  If it is what are the things to show?  How many people have benefited from the Oil revenue in the agriculture sector?
    Agriculture is one of the four priority areas that have received oil revenues over the past 5 and half years. Agriculture received about 9.2% of the total oil revenues in the first 5 years. This is relatively low compared to GNPC’s 39%. There is little to be shown for this investment since the sector faces challenges such as oil revenues substituting instead of  complementing traditional sources of funding such as IGF, GOG and development partners. In addition, there are issues of misapplication. For instance, in  2014, 170,62 million Ghana cedis or 43.91 million U.S. dollars was allocated to the agriculture sector from oil revenues.Out of this amount 69 percent went into sea defence projects. Finally, allocation from oil revenues to agriculture has seen a ”see-saw” trend. For example, in 2013, 2.5% of ABFA wa allocated to agriculture. This increased to 31% in 2014 and reduced to 3.5% in 2015. In 2016, it is projected to be 28%. This affects proper planning and productivity. The sector needs an investment plan, guided by effective monitoring and evalutaion and measurable indicators
    6. Oil Revenues as Substitutes instead of complement to the Agric. sector
    Yes. Oil revenues now constitute more than 90% of the capital and goods and service budget of agriculture. This means agriculture will be affected most when there is low oil prices.
    7. Low level  of oil revenues investment in agriculture
    Yes. agriculture has received only 9.2% of oil revenues over the past 5 years.
    8. Have the oil producing districts shown decline in the Agriculture production?
    The oil is produced offshore and the fishermen have been complaining about low catch since the oil production. Alternative livelihood systems have been developed by oil companies.However, it should be institutionalized and properly targeted.
     Inline image
    Ishmael Ackah, Ph.D
    Head of Policy Unit 
    Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP)


    My take on this issue is that the development of Agriculture in Ghana as a result of oil is purely a myth with very little result to show for.

    A 2014 Annual Report of the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) suggests that West and Central Africa received in excess of US$157.8 Million representing about 22.1% of the total share of  US$713.4 Million funds for financing programmes and projects approved in 2014 alone.

    Although IFADs core mandate is to finance the growth of Agriculture and its value chain to ensure food security in countries, it has interestingly started funding natural resource management especially in cities where these God-given resources are found.

    The following is how the various sub-sectors were impacted through the distribution.

    Agriculture and natural resource management – 32%, Market and related infrastructure – 16%, Rural financial services – 13%, Others 13%,

    Policy and institutional support – 10%Community-driven and human development – 8%, Small and microenterprises – 7%

    Therefore, in 2014 Ghana received its share of the funds distributed  with a breakdown as follows;

    GHANA: Ghana Agricultural Sector Investment Programme (GASIP)

    GASIP will work to reduce poverty in rural Ghana sustainably.

    It will have three components: value chain development; rural value chain infrastructure; and knowledge management, policy support and coordination. Smallholder farmers and resource-poor rural people will be the main targets, particularly women, young people (aged 15-24 years) and young adults (aged 25-34 years). This national programme will be governed by a demand- and market-driven approach. The initial design and financing will cover the first two cycles (six years).

    Approved loan amount: SDR 23.7 million (equivalent to approximately US$36.6 million)

    Approved ASAP grant amount: SDR 6.5 million (approximately US$10.0 million)

    Total programme cost: estimated at US$113.0 million, of which national government will provide US$7.6 million, beneficiaries US$4.6 million, districts US$1.7 million and participating financial institutions US$17.5 million. IFAD is expected to seek additional financing of US$35.0 million in 2016-2018

    Approximate reach: 55,000 households .

    Although Ghana discovered oil in commercial quantities in 2010, and attained middle-income status in 2011, the overarching effect of oil revenue on Agric in this regard is yet to be felt with Agriculture contributing only some  0.04% of GDP.

    We should perhaps take note that Ghana has also been the largest recipient of IFAD‘s loans and grants in the West and Central Africa region since 1980.

    As a journalist, it beats my imagination why these resource nations find it extremely difficult to adequately fund Agriculture which employs the majority of its people. Perhaps Ghana is not alone in this struggle. Uganda, Mozambique and Tanzania can all be fingered. But this should no way be an escape for our leaders to sit up and salvage the situation.

    Finally, the recent Panama Papers which exposed two sons of prominent leaders allegedly involved in illicit financial flows and tax havens i.e Former President John Agyekum Kufour and Kojo Annan, son of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan should not be swept under the carpet.

    Civil Society organizations like ACEP in Ghana should not be hypocritical to this and they cannot turn a blind eye on the matter. Ghanaians need to be educated on the truth on the issue and certain outcomes reached in this regard.

    Malise Otoo

    Managing Editor,
    Ghana Daily News
    No. 10A Christianborg Castle Road, Osu-Accra, Ghana
    P.O.Box DK 817, Darkuman, Accra
    Comments from Tanko Mohammed Rabiu
    As Ghana congratulates and award farmers today in Bolgatanga in the upper east region, a lot of farmers’, agriculture experts and energy experts are calling on the government to invest heavily in agriculture from the oil revenues. This according to them agriculture contributes faster to poverty reduction than does industrial investments. Agricultural spending has wider redistributive effect citing some examples; Indonesia used its oil rents to supply fertilizer to farmers and develop new crops, building the basis for the country’s green revolution. They also invested heavily in agricultural research to identify new commodities that could improve on export potential. Malaysia invested its oil revenues into forestry and palm oil, building very successful industries. Chile, used proceeds from copper to invest into new agricultural commodities, such as salmon, a product that had not been part of the country’s export products before and other countries who are also using oil revenues to improve in agriculture.
    At the height of the global financial and economic crises in 2007, Ghana discovered oil and gas in commercial quantities estimated at 1.8 billion barrels reserves. In spite of the modest production levels, oil has now become the second largest export of Ghana – US$2.7 billion in 2011 to US$3 billion in 2012; following gold and overtaking cocoa since then. Ghana is also gradually becoming a net exporter of crude oil with oil imports of US$3.3 billion in 2012 versus oil exports of US$3 billion. Over the last 4 years, Ghana earned about US$2.7 billion in revenues to the state. With new discoveries being developed, Ghana could earn more from its share of crude oil. With increasing oil revenues as a result, many are skeptical if Ghana can avoid the curse of oil and transform its oil wealth into positive development outcomes.
    In Ghana, research has shown that at the national level, agricultural public expenditures have the highest returns in terms of agricultural productivity. For one marginal cedi invested in agriculture, GH¢16.8 is returned, feeder roads – GH¢8.8, Health – GH¢1.3. In spite of the potential of this sector to contribute to the country’s development, there continue to exist a wide funding gap in public expenditure. Agricultural share of public spending is currently at 8.5%, which has been insufficient to generate the levels of growth that would reduce poverty levels significantly. This is lesser than the Maputo Declaration of a minimum spending of 10%. If Ghana is to become a full middle-income country by 2015 and see decline in poverty rates of almost 70 percent, the share of agricultural expenditure in public spending would have to almost double from the current 8.5 to 14.1 percent.
    Nevertheless, Allocation of oil revenues to agriculture was increased in the 2014 Budget from GHS20 million in 2013 to GHS136 million in 2014. Agriculture share of oil revenues were allocated to investments focused on small holder farming but farmers are asking for more improvement in the sector. In a telephone interview with the 1996 national best farmer Aloko Dongo who is still in active farming expressed his dissatisfaction on the declining state of agriculture saying farmers do not have access to credit facilities to enhance in their activities. He said many a times a lot of farmers commit suicide after failing to pay back loans taken from financial institutions and said lack of access to market, storage facilities and disease control.
    Speaking to Dr. Amin Adam, the executive director for Africa center for energy policy, ACEP, in an exclusive interview after his presentation on political economy of Ghana’s oil and gas sector/follow the money at a media training for journalist in the extractive sector, said agriculture is the easiest way to reduce poverty in Ghana looking at the scope of the agriculture industry where the sector has more working force. He said there is the need for more citizen participation in decision making process I the oil and gas sector so as to benefit the poor and the vulnerable.
    On the morning of the national farmers’ day celebration, TV3’s morning show “new day” hosted O.B Amoah, a member of the NPP, John abdulai Jinapor deputy minister of power and a member of the CPP. All the panelists reiterated the need for government to invest more of the oil revenue to agriculture and mean while John Jinapor said despite these challenges, government is investing a lot in agricultural industrialization from different funding sources examples like the fomenda sugar factory, shea butter factory at Buipe, rice mills in Tamale and Nasia.
    According to the 2015 budget, 3.95% of the total budget went to agriculture and only 1.39% was spent and in the 2106 budget it declined to 3.5% which according to agriculture expert is not encouraging and not good for a developing country like Ghana. An amount of GHC 501,501, 708.00 is allocated to the agriculture ministry representing 3.5%.
    Most of the farmers I spoke to want more share of the oil revenue to agriculture because agriculture is the most easiest way to reduce poverty and the only sector where the poor can make livelihood from without huge investments.
    The table below shows how oil revenues were allocated to agriculture from 2012 to 2013.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           SECTORS                               ABFA 2012        RANK     ABFA 2013    RANK
    Office of the President
    Parliament of Ghana
    Finance and Economic Planning
    local government
    Food & Agriculture
    Lands & Natural Resources
    Trade & Industry
    Envir, Science & Technology
    Tourism and Culture
    Water Resources, Wrks & Housing
    Roads and Highways
    Employment & Social Welfare
    Youth & Sports
    MDAs Total
    Source: ACEP
    Tanko Mohammed Rabiu
    Regional Correspondent, Tamale
    TV3 News Network Limited

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