The Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMet) is expected to raise close to GH₵41m by next year from fees for services rendered to agencies in the aviation sector, a parliamentary report has revealed.
This follows Parliament’s adoption of the Committee on Communications’ report on the Ghana Meteorological Agency (Amendment) bill, 2019. The bill seeks to provide a financing mechanism for the Agency, by adequately empowering it to collect fees for services rendered to agencies in the aviation sector.
According to the report, passage of the bill will enable the agency to raise a minimum of GH¢41million in year 2020.
The amount to be generated will far exceed the annual budgetary allocation of about GH¢22million to the Agency for the year 2019.
The bill seeks to amend the Ghana Meteorological Agency Act, 2004 (Act 682), to specify the percentage of fees and charges in the aviation sector to be used as sources of money for the National Meteorological Fund and related matters.
The Agency is also to ensure the provision of accurate and reliable weather and climate information to organisations such as the World Meteorological Organisation, in line with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.
Although the Agency has for the past fifteen years, since its establishment, provided valuable meteorological services to the country, its operations have been undermined by a number of challenges. Of particular concern is the Agency’s inability to generate adequate funds to support its operations.
It is to be recalled that the International Civil Aviation Organisation and World Meteorological Organisation, at a Convention in Chicago during 1944, agreed that meteorological agencies should recover cost for services rendered to the aviation sector. This Convention was subsequently ratified by Ghana on the 9th of May 1957. However, no provision has been made in Act 682 that enables the Agency recover the cost of services it renders to the aviation industry.
Government allocation to the Agency over the years has been inadequate, thereby rendering the Agency incapable of replacing some of its obsolete and defective equipment.
Although GMet provides aeronautical data to the aviation industry, from which it is expected to generate funds internally, the aviation industry does not always pay for services rendered in respect of aeronautical data provided to the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and the Ghana Airport Company Ltd. (GACL). This situation, is attributed to the lack of adequate legal provisions mandating GMet to charge for services rendered.
The Communications Committee Members expressed optimism that the amendment will provide for a financial recovery arrangement with the aviation sector, to allow GMet receive fees and charges for services it renders to the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority and the Ghana Airport Company Limited.
The report also noted that having a secure and sustainable source of funding will help minimise the major risks identified by the Certification Group Limited, UK; and also ensure that GMet sustains the ISO standards in line with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) agreement that was signed in 1944 (Chicago Treaty) and ratified by Ghana in May 1957.
Funds generated internally will enable GMet to acquire and install some state-of-the-art meteorological equipment to ensure accurate, reliable and timely weather and climate information.
This will help prevent avoidable disasters caused by the weather and climatic changes, and safeguard lives and properties.