Accra: A recent study undertaken on the Abidjan-Lagos road corridor shows that there are currently 28 road blocks within the Ghana section of the corridor. Out of this number, 22 road blocks are manned by the police with the rest operated by the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA). In line with this, the Minister for Roads and Highways, Joe Gidisu stressed the need to reduce the number of road blocks to promote development in Sub Saharan region.
Hon Gidisu said although the police were mandated to protect the travelling public, they should also be mindful of the negative implications of excessive road blocks.
He was speaking during a three-day capacity building workshop on transport and trade facilitation for the Ghana Police Service at Elmina on Thursday. The workshop, aimed at enhancing the performance of the Ghana Police Service in transport and trade facilitation, was attended by stakeholders in the sector.
He stated that about 65 per cent of economic activities in the West Africa region were undertaken along the Abidjan-Lagos road corridor, stressing that the World Bank was supporting the implementation of the Abidjan-Lagos trade and transport facilitation project to reduce trade and transport barriers in the ports and on the roads.
The minister disclosed that currently transportation cost along the Abidjan-Lagos road corridor was regarded as one of the highest in the ECOWAS region, adding that the high transport cost is partly due to excessive physical and non tariff barriers along the corridor.
He noted that government was committed to its expected role in the implementation of the various ECOWAS protocols designed to facilitate sub-regional trade.
“Through the reduction of the number of road blocks along the corridor and the improvement of the condition of the road while ensuring safety in the movement of the vehicle in the corridor would subsequently reflect in the reduction of the cost of the freight transport in the corridor,” Mr Gidisu stated.
He appealed to police commanders in the country to help secure the roads.
The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Paul Tawiah, in a speech read on his behalf, indicated that long border crossing times with loaded vehicles occasioned by numerous road blocks on the corridor was affecting trade. He cited inappropriate enforcement of regulation and cumbersome road blocks as a threat that hinders the free movement of goods and services along most corridors within the sub-region.
He urged regional police commanders to take a look at the several motor checks, road blocks and barriers mounted along the roads and outline effective strategies to reduce them without compromising the security situation.
The Central Regional police commander, DCOP Stephen Andoh Kwofie, in a speech read on his behalf by ACP Johnson Owusu, stated that the region has only two approved barriers namely Moree and Assin Fosu with the rest being snap checks. He added that the snap check operators had been warned to ensure smooth movement of goods.
* A Daily Graphic story