The Deputy Minister of Transport, Daniel Titus-Glover, the CEO of the Ghana Chamber of Shipping, Dr. Kofi Mbiah, Dean at the School of Graduate Studies, Regional Maritime University, Dr. John York Abaidoo, have unanimously admitted that Ghana’s ocean resources are underutilized, and there is so much room to explore in order to fully harness the potential of the blue economy.
“If you were to look at how one of the various areas of the blue economy complement the other areas, you would realize that the potential is huge. Unfortunately, we are very limited to the way in which we harness these resources,” Dr. Mbiah expressed.
“I agree with my seniors that we are not taking full advantage of this blue economy,” Daniel Titus-Glover added.
Speaking on Eye on Port’s interactive live panel discussion on assessing the scope of the blue economy and how Ghana can harness its full potential Kofi Mbiah stated that, there is over concentration on port development in Ghana, and there remains varied opportunities that the ocean offers for the blue economy.
“Unfortunately sometimes when we talk about the blue economy people only think about the main things, such as the port, shipping etc. but it goes beyond that. We can talk about ship building, construction in the sea, port development, transportation, oil and gas, aquaculture, fishery, tourism, and recreation. All of these together is what we call the blue economy,” he educated.
He said, if these areas are fully developed, there is a projected 5.4 million jobs to be created globally due to the infinite resources the ocean offers.
He lamented that the various agencies in the maritime-logistics chain including transport, fishing and energy, work in silos, and integration is needed to create seamlessness in the industry.
He called for a comprehensive maritime policy that would narrow the country’s interest towards the highly prospective blue economy.
“Once you know what your interests are then you can relate that to a comprehensive policy. Out of that policy then you can have your strategy and then you can have your plans and programs for the realization of those dreams in the policy.”
The Deputy Minister of Transport and Member of Parliament for Tema East, Daniel Titus-Glover, called for an increased use of Ghana’s inland water resources to alleviate the burdened sea port, and called for more assistance from the private sector to invest.
“We want to explore the potential of the Volta Lake. We have done some studies and we will be creating about 2 to 3 ports in the Volta Lake to be able to continue the blue economy business around that stretch,” he revealed.
He said the Government of Ghana, has currently created an enticing environment for investors to develop Ghana’s viable maritime industry and this is evident in the port expansion projects, in both Takoradi and Tema Ports.
“As a way of enticing business and the private sector, in this MPS deal, government gave $834m as tax waiver. It is a huge sum of money that could entice them to partner with government.”
He also revealed that a new comprehensive transport policy is to be rolled out soon and which would address the growing needs of the blue economy otherwise known as the maritime industry.
Dr. John York Abaidoo, Dean at the School of Graduate Studies, Regional Maritime University, in addressing the state of insufficient opportunities for graduates of maritime training institutes, urged Ghanaians to be aware that graduates of RMU are not only equipped to be employed in the core public maritime institutions in the country, such as the Ghana Ports and Harbors Authority, the Ghana Maritime Authority and the Ghana Shippers’ Authority.
“When you take Port and Shipping, where most of the students come from, in fact, any organization or entity in Ghana that imports or exports, will need a graduate from Port and Shipping,” he explained.
He said shipping and marine service companies doing business in the country, should take up graduates of the RMU and as a matter of seriousness, legislation should be passed where local participation for ship’s crew is mandatory.
“The problem here is legislation. I know that when local content laws become operative, then we will have the power to say that, every ship visiting our coast should carry at least one local crewman. I believe that can also help us,” he opined.
Dr. Kofi Mbiah called for a change in the current curriculum of the Regional Maritime University as well as the Chattered Institute of Logistics and Transport training programs which are affiliated to the Ghana Institute of Management and Professional Administration to be able to adjust to modern industry demands so that skilled human resources can be trained to harness a broader job market relevant to the trends of the dynamic blue economy and even beyond.
“Your curriculum itself must be adjusted to reflect these modern times. If you do not do that you will be swept away and that is what we are seeing. Talking about training about 500 people, what kind of training do we give them? Both the cadet, and those coming at shore. Studying port and shipping alone, sometimes they get limited. Even the nomenclature must change,” he admonished.
He also asked for a paradigm shift towards the fisheries sector which he described as having enormous potential.