Editorial: Let there be peace at the Tema Port.
According to a story we carried yesterday, the workers took the decision to enforce the GPHA's 20 percent share in all containerised vessels entering the Tema Port. The workers further made an allegation of fraud against some of the masters of the vessels, who increase the draft of the ships to enable them qualify for the Terminal Three at the Tema Port, being operated by Meridian Ports Services (MPS).
Both the GPHA and MPS are yet to react to the allegation being made by the workers, which formed the basis for the withdrawal of their services. But, as we wait to get the true picture of the situation, The Chronicle calls on all the parties involved to exercise restraint for the issue to be resolved amicably.
If we are not exaggerating, over 50% of our taxes and levies which are used for the development of this country come through the Tema Port. In other words, the sea port is the wheel on which our national economy revolves. Anything that would impede the smooth running or peace at the Tema Port would, therefore, affect the fortunes of this country.
Already the projected revenue for the 2020 fiscal year has been seriously affected as a result of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. But for the timely intervention of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which doled out one billion dollars to support the economy, fighting the pandemic in Ghana would have been very difficult, because of the slump in our revenue.
Also, because of the same Covid-19, businesses worldwide, including our dear nation, Ghana, are on their knees. Proprietors are, therefore, unable to pay their workers for the government to also tax them. From the above analysis, it is clear that the cascading effect of the Covid-19 on our national economy is dire.
As things stand now, our only hope is the Tema Port, which is still in operation. President Akufo-Addo, in his wisdom, realised that it would be impossible to close down the seaports, which are the conduit for all our imported items, when he took drastic measures to contain the Covid-19. Should the GPHA workers, therefore, continue with the action they have embarked upon, they possibility of our economy crashing cannot be ruled out.
This is the reason why The Chronicle is much concerned about the development going on at the port. The refusal of the workers to bring the vessels to the port to discharge the imported goods they are carrying meant Ghana lost millions of cedis in revenue on Tuesday. As the adage goes, when two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.
Somebody sitting in his or her room somewhere would not bother about what is going on at the port, but, at the end of the day, all Ghanaians would suffer for it if the actions of the workers result in a shutdown or refusal of vessels to call at the port. The Chronicle is, therefore, appealing to President Akufo-Addo to personally intervene and see how best the issue could be resolved as soon as practicable. This is not the time for any of the parties to adopt an antagonistic stance when our national economy is at the risk of falling comatose, which revival would take a long time to achieve. We hope Jubilee House is reading us.
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|Publication:||Ghanaian Chronicle (Accra, Ghana)|
|Date:||Jun 25, 2020|
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