Chief Obosu Mohammed
CHIEF OBOSU Mohammed, an International Maritime Consultant, has called on Government to prioritise the setting up or reviving of a national shipping line.
According to Mr Mohammed, Government must encourage and educate home-grown investors through maritime investment forums with adequate incentives to be able to awaken their interest to invest in shipping lines.
Speaking in an interview with Daily Guide, the maritime consultant said Ghana, as a ‘corporate body’, has the credibility and a strong capital market access to raise funding to partner with strategic investors to be able to revive or set up a national shipping line.
“I am of the school of thought that an option for a public private partnership (PPP) will suit our circumstances in this regard with the government of Ghana having not less 51 percent as its shareholding. We must also take into due consideration the circumstances that led to the collapse of the Black Star Line as our nation’s only carrier while taking steps to revive it.
He added that “The public private partnership (PPP) must be anchored on three strategic mechanisms which are: First, there must be a friendly shipping tax and ship registration regime that can attract investors. Secondly, there must be a strategic maritime growth policy that will outline our short-medium-long-term plans based on a sound maritime policy initiative that will be developed through an intensive collaboration between the public and private sector. Thirdly, a pragmatic legal regime with a very stable economic and political stability that can protect the capital-intensive assets and long-term capital investments of investors in the shipping industry.”
A PPP, he added, will reduce to a very minimum degree the level of government interference and to ensure a prudent and efficient management system which will be placed in the hands of the private investor.
Also, he advised that Ghana must either set-up a development bank or widen the scope of existing development banks like the Ghana Exim Bank which is already providing financial and technical support in promoting international trade to Ghanaian owned businesses to cater for the maritime industry.
This module of development bank, he said, should be able to provide a lower interest rate as compared to commercial banks and technical consultancy to our home-grown investors who may want to diversify into shipping lines.
“There is already an existing infrastructure that can propel the establishment of a national shipping line. We must not treat shipping as a support industry but as an industry capable of manifesting on its own right leading to a sustainable, vibrant, and a globally competitive shipping sector that can drive wealth creation for development and national prosperity,” he mentioned.
BY Samuel Boadi