Ghana: High-Level Meeting to Enhance Compliance with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPS) in the Maritime Industry

On Tuesday, January 16, 2024, a high-level meeting was convened by the Ghana Maritime Authority, in collaboration with the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) and the Convention for Business Integrity (CBi), to focus on improving the efficiency of maritime procedures in Ghana and combating corruption within the sector.

Held at the Movenpick Hotel in Accra, this gathering included participation from various stakeholders involved in the vessel clearance process, leading to a major decision to work towards establishing a single, harmonized standard document for operating procedures. This document will be used by all stakeholders interacting with vessels, from their arrival to departure.

Among the represented institutions were the Ghana Maritime Authority, Ghana Immigration Service, Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, Office of the Special Prosecutor, Ghana Revenue Authority-Customs, Marine Police, Ghana Shippers Authority, Regional Maritime University, Ministry of Finance, Economic Organized Crime Office, Ministry of Transport, and others.

Mr. Soji Apampa, co-founder and CEO of CBi

Emphasizing the benefits of mutual learning and exchange, Mr. Soji Apampa, co-founder and CEO of CBi, presented the activities and outcomes of similar interventions Nigeria. Implementation of a single, harmonized SOP document the Nigeria Port Process Manual (NPPM), a Help Desk, and a Port Standing Task Team (PSTT) ensuring accountability of officials and consequence management led to a reduction in corruption cases from 266 in 2019 to 45 in 2023. Furthermore, these initiatives resulted in increased efficiency in vessel clearance processes in Nigerian ports, including a decrease in time taken from anchorage to berth from 7 hours to 90 minutes on average.

Discussions revealed that each Ghanaian agency has already implemented procedures to combat corruption, yet unanimous agreement was reached that there is a need for closer inter-agency collaboration, harmonizing efforts to achieve a more significant impact.

Director of the Maritime Services Division of the Ghana Maritime Authority, Mr. Nana Boampong

Concluding the meeting, the Director of the Maritime Services Division of the Ghana Maritime Authority, Mr. Nana Boampong, assured attendees that his institution was fully committed to leading the charge for the establishment of a standard document for operating procedures. He advised that immediate next steps will involve the gathering of individual agency standard procedures, and creation of a committee to commence the harmonization process of a final, unified SOP document.