Shipper’s Authority Addresses Linguistic Challenge of Freight forwarders
The Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA) is organizing a six week French language course for freight forwarders as part of efforts to address their linguistic challenges as Ghana firms her maritime and transit trade hub status.
Thirty freight forwarders from various groups such as Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF) are benefiting from the training programme which will help create a hotbed for the acquisition of French proficiency for them across the country.
Madam Benonita Bismark, Chief Executive Officer, GSA, said “Most of us are aware of the cardinal role freight forwarders play in transit trade facilitation. I want to assure our freight forwarders that the GSA will continue to stand with you to help raise a lot more professionally oriented members within your fold.”
According to her, transit trade through Ghana to destinations such as Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali had grown over the years and expected to hit I million metric tonnes through the Tema port.
She said a number of interventions had been introduced both home and abroad at the national and international levels to meet the growth.
“For instance, at the national level, President Akufo-Addo met in 2017 with his Burkina Faso counterpart Roach Marc Kabore to address a railway interconnectivity project to facilitate transit trade,” she said.
According to her, at the institutional level, the GSA had been at the forefront of transit trade facilitation over the years which included the setting up of the Greater Accra and Western Regional Shipper committees which provide active platforms for addressing transit issues.
“We have resolved long standing issues between Ghanaian transit drivers and drivers of Burkina Faso and Niger. We have pushed for the removal of the withholding tax on transit goods and led the re-organisation of Ghanaian transit transport groups.”
Madam Bismack said the GSA served as the focal point for Borderless Alliance’s e-platform which was for the monitoring and resolving issues related to non-tariff barriers along Ghana’s transit routes.
“The Ghana Shipper Authority had led the campaign for the removal of Value added Tax (VAT) on transit goods,’ she said.
According to her, in spite of the crucial interventions of the GSA, the Ghanaian freight forwarder’s proficiency in French, the official language of Ghana’s neighbours, was woefully inadequate.
She said the Board Chairman of GSA, Mrs Stella Wilson, mooted the idea of partnering the French Embassy to develop a curriculum to help them achieve a basic business proficiency in French.
“A number of freight forwarders have expressed their disappointment for losing transit business in the past owing to the inability to communicate in the French language,” she disclosed.