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The Burkinabe government through its Ministry of Transport has released over 70 Ghanaian haulage truck drivers who were detained in that country for five weeks for failing to provide a loading document, popularly called “bon de chargement” covering their cargoes.
Officials have subsequently suspended the implementation of a decree that enforced strict implementation of the loading permit regime.
The suspension of the decree therefore means that any truck driver who carts cargo from Ghana’s ports to that country would no longer be required to produce the permit.
The move by the Burkinabe government came after the Ghanaian government led a delegation to that country to protest the decree and the mistreatment of its drivers who were detained.
The Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Joyce Bawa Mogtari on April 23, 2016 led a delegation of officials of the Ghana Ports and Habours Authourity (GPHA), the Ghana Shippers Authourity (GSA) as well as officials of the Ghana Embassy in that country to strongly oppose the move by the Burkinabe government to detaine the drivers for that long when they had no such agreement with Ghana.
The deputy minister who also called on the President of Burkina Faso to request his intervention, later held a meeting with Burkinabe importers.
That meeting was however, said to have ended in a brawl when a Burkinabe businessman spoke against the implementation of the “bon de chargement”.
The political leadership of the two countries have tasked its respective shippers authorities to produce a blueprint on the harmonisation of the transit trade between the two countries.
About 131 haulage truck drivers had documentations on their cargoes seized by the Burkinabe Transport Ministry which in turn handed them over to the gendarmeries (military police) who were alleged to have maltreated the drivers over the past five weeks.
The Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Shippers Authourity, Ms Sylvia Asana Dauda Owo told the Daily Graphic in Accra that the formalities for the release of the drivers commenced almost immediately after the Ghanaian delegation had argued its case with officials of Burkina Faso.
“The Directeur Général (DG) of the Burkina Faso Shippers Authourity commenced the formality for the release of the drivers on April 25, 2016 and by April 27, they started releasing them together with their documents to enable them offload their cargoes. As I speak now, they have released all of them”, Ms Owo said.
Ms Owo indicated that at the protest meeting, Ghana made a case for the two countries to sit down and agree on modalities for the management of that country’s transit cargo.
“We made it clear to them that since Ghana did not have any agreement with them to that effect, there was the need for the two countries to agree on the way forward”, Ms Owo said.
She emphasised that per the decisions taken, Ghana’s Shippers Authourity was to engage its Burkina Faso counterparts, a process she said was already underway.
The Directeur Général (DG) of the Burkina Faso Shippers Authourity, she said, would be in Ghana in the coming days with his team to hold a meeting on the issue with the GSA.
She said the GSA was also in touch with the representatives of the Burkina Shippers Authourity here in Ghana, and “we believe going forward, Ghana can agree on a bilateral agreement with the Burkinabe government in the management of transit cargoes”, she stressed.