National integrated maritime strategy in the offing

BY: Maclean Kwofi
• Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah (INSET), Minister of National Security, addressing the participants in the meeting
• Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah (INSET), Minister of National Security, addressing the participants in the meeting

All strategic documents in the maritime environment are to be structured into one master strategy to enhance efficiency, proper management and control of activities in the industry.

To be christened the National Integrated Maritime Strategy, the document, when developed, is also to serve as a reference point for which all strategies in the maritime space such as maritime security, maritime transportation and natural resources exploitation will draw their authority.

By March next year, the strategic document is expected to be completed and signed by the President to pave way for an implementation plan to be designed.

The Daily Graphic is reliably informed that a contract to engage the services of a consultant who will design the strategy is expected to be signed by the end of September this year.

The strategy is being championed jointly by the Government of Ghana (GoG) and the United States government under their Security Governance Initiative (SGI).

Overarching document

Giving further details about the strategy, the SGI National Focal Lead, Captain (GN) Emmanuel Kofi Ankomah, told the paper in an exclusive interview after the fourth Steering Committee Meeting of the SGI on September 18 in Accra, that the proposed strategy would become the base document that would consolidate all strategies bordering on the management of the maritime industry.

“The strategy will enable the government to take charge of the maritime industry and make the best use of the number of resources in the country’s maritime domain for national development. It will also enable us to take charge of the environment and ensure that we have the needed security in the maritime environment,” Capt Ankomah, who is also the Deputy Director in charge of Maritime Security at the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA), explained.

He observed that the strategy would have an implementation plan and a government collaboration framework that would ensure that stakeholder institutions, agencies and the general public complement each other within the maritime environment.

The strategy, he said, was also going to capture the day-to-day activities of maritime stakeholders to improve the way the institutions related with each other for the growth of the industry.

“We have given ourselves a strict timeline to complete the strategy between now and March next year.

“By December 31 this year, the first draft of the strategy should be ready and this would pave the way for stakeholder consultations, ahead of the March 31 deadline for the completion of the document,” he added.

Govt’s position on the strategy

The Minister of National Security, Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah, who opened the meeting, underscored the government’s commitment to improve on security sector governance in the country.

He indicated that the government was looking forward to the development of the national integrated maritime strategy which would provide a multi-agency response to the maritime threat of the country.

“I want to take the opportunity to thank the United States government for the introduction of the SGI programme,” he added.

Dealing with violations of laws

For his part, the Head of Delegation SGI-Ghana, Mr Michael Arietti, said the SGI was to improve revenue collection, prevent illegal fishing and speed up justice delivery in the country.

He also said the development of strategic bonds such as the SGI between Ghana and the USA would help improve the ability of policies to deal with violations of laws and help the government to achieve economic development goals.

Representatives from the governments of the United States of America and Ghana participated in the meeting.