I am spending a few days in our office for Management Team meetings and other planning meetings.

We have projects all around the world. Since I travel a lot to our clients, partners and colleagues in countries in all regions, it is more and more important to visit the office when I can. 

It is important to meet and plan the strategy for the years to come. 

President John Dramani Mahama has revealed that steps are being taken by the government to re-introduce the operations of Black Star Line; the national shipping line that in the 1970’s was a key player in the transport of Ghana’s commodities to abroad. 

The re-introduction of the national shipping line, the President said, was to maximize the potentials of the port expansion projects being embarked on in the country. 

According to the President, plans are far advanced, hence the redevelopment and expansion of the ports ahead of it’s re-introduction to create jobs for the teeming unemployed youth. 

He explained that goods and services are cleared rapidly at the ports and there is the need for a national shipping carrier to facilitate these trades. 

President John Mahama made this revelation at the first anniversary celebrations of the implementation of the Single Window trade facility at the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) attended by George Blankson, Commissioner-General of GRA, the Finance Minister, his Deputy, Deputy Minister of Trade and the Minister of Transport in Accra. 

He maintained these were some of the measures being put in place by his administration to strategize and maximize the gains of the economy. 

He said the earnings of the prudent fiscal management of the economy is making the economy resilient in the West African sub-region hence the Moody ratings.

“We are in an election year but our fiscal management of the economy gave the International Monetary Fund the impetus to grant us another reprieve”. 

President Mahama said the ratings has stated that the recent upgrade from negative to stable by International rating firm is an indication that his government is doing something right. 

He said the partnership between West Blue Consulting Limited and the Customs Division of the GRA is an outstanding partnership with the private sector that has worked over the past one year in spite of the earlier misconceptions about the project in the media. 

He noted that the project is designed to strengthen the trading and economic performance of the country. 

He said the project is also helping the world to do business with the Customs division easily as recommended by the World Customs Organization and World Trade Organization. 

In all, the President together with the following individuals: Thomas Amanquandor, former Commissioner of Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS), Fredrick Gavo, Deputy Commissioner and Yaw Boakye Agyemang in- charge of the Customs Technical Bureau received meritorious awards for their political foresight and instrumentality in setting up the Ghana National Single Window for Customs, which has revolutionize customs procedures and increased government revenues.

Article: Black Star

Source: GhanaWeb

Travellers face £5 charge to get through passport control faster! Charges of up to £17.50 at UK airports to jump immigration queues could be rolled out nationwide, a new report suggests. 

English newspaper The Guardian reports today thst travellers are to be charged to get through passport checks quickly at British airports, with some paying as much as £17.50, the Home Office has confirmed.

The charge is an attempt to cut queues, but unions called it a gimmick and accused the government of failing to properly fund border controls.Officials said they were working with some airport operators to introduce the scheme but denied reports in the People newspaper that it will be introduced in every UK airport with a charge of at least £5 per person.

The Home Office said its Border Force was “working closely with several airport operators to introduce a fast track passport control service, which will provide passengers with another choice of a secure and convenient route through the UK border”. 

This is an attempt to find financial solutions to meet the increasing volumes of passangers, without creating longer queues at our borders. 

I am personally not sure that it is a good idea. I am a keen supporter of diversifying flows at our borders, but I want the queues to be divided based on risk and compliance – not payment. 

Having said that we need to acknowledge that there is a real existing challenge here.

You can read the entire article here: The Guardian: Travellers face charge

Source: The Guardian

Boxing’s greatest-ever bout, the Thrilla in Manila took place on this very day in  1975. 

Having just returned from a visit to Manila yesterday it is hard for me not to think about Muhammad Ali today.

Pure skill was much of it. The brutal delicacy of the ring-craft, so rare in the heavyweight division. Among the lumbering sloggers he dodged and danced, floating like a butterfly, stinging like a bee. Faced with a solid, flat-footed opponent, as all seemed to be compared with him, he would circle, torment and mesmerise, throwing short punches at speed. All that weaving, skipping, leaning leisurely away, before coming in for the kill. 

Muhammad Ali was The Greatest. For sure in the history of boxing. Maybe even the greatest in sports ever. Loved by the people all over the world. Mourned by many when his life ended recently. 

An athlete, preacher, politician, larger-than-life charachter. He is missed. His voice is missed in the turbolent world of terrorism, nee types of conflicts, contradictions and growing hatred – that we live in today. 

Here is The Economists tribute article to Ali (click here): The Economist: The Greatest

Yesterday night Swedish exceptional soccer superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic did it again, scoring the only goal when Manchester United beat Zoraya Luhansk in the UEFA Europe League Group Round, 1-0 at home on Old Trafford in Manchester. 

The goal was number 57 for Ibrahimovic in the European tournaments, same number of goals as legendary Italian striker Alessandro Del Piero. Zlatan has now scored goals for seven different clubs in the European cups. Nobody has scored goals for more clubs in the European tournaments. 
In Vigo Swedish national team striker, John Guidetti (The Next One) scored the decisive first goal in the 84th minute when Spanish Celta Vigo beat Panathinaikos 2-0 also in the UEFA Europe Legaue Group Round. 

In Napoli the home team won 4-2 against Benfica, but the real story was the singing of the Napoli fans before the game.

At the last line of the pre-game song the fans – in all 42,000 spectators – screamed so loud that it was registered at the local seismological institute as a minor earthquake, according to the Corriere dello Sport. This is what sport and soccer means to people. 

Time to take another plane after a tour in Asia this week. I have had great meetings.

I have really no idea how many airmiles I have done this year, but I do know that there is a lot of agencies out in the world that needs advise. I am on my way. 

It is hard work being away from home, but I really do think that I make a difference.