Deputy Minister of Transport, Hassan Tampuli, has backed the request of Ghana Airport Company (GACL) to have its user fees and services reviewed upward to enable them undertake proper maintenance service in the new airports that are springing up across the country.
The government of Ghana is committed to improving the aviation sector to ensure the country becomes an aviation hub. However, one of the critical agencies responsible for planning, developing, managing and maintaining all airports and aerodromes in Ghana –GACL – is pushing for a review of its Airport Passenger Service Charge (APSC) in order to properly maintain and manage effectively the new airports being developed in some of the regions.
Speaking to the press on sidelines of a one-day visit to the Kumasi and Tamale airports by leadership and members of Parliament’s Roads and Transport Select Committee and officials of GACL led by the deputy sector minister, Hassan Tampuli who said: “Now revenue from APSC for Accra is also a subject of a loan facility, so payment more or less goes to amortise those loans; hence, we need excess funds to be able to maintain these facilities. We need a sustained revenue stream – even itemise in the budget that this is the purpose it is going to be used for.
“For us at the ministry, we are excited that leadership and members of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Roads and Transport appreciate the fact that the GH¢5 we have in the price build-up of domestic air travel is woefully inadequate. So we appreciate the fact that they recognise it needs to be reviewed.
“They have asked that we come with a justification paper for us to be able to go through the numbers and see whether there is justification; maybe whatever figures that we put across are inadequate as far as they are concerned. They may even give us more than we requested. Seeing what we have here, it tells us that there is a bright future as far as our aviation industry is concerned.”
“We have not moved into these facilities yet, in order not to get to a point where it will be difficult to maintain the facility; we need to be proactive and get a revenue stream put in the price build-up way before the opening of these airports.
“We need to be ahead of the curve and get a stable revenue stream, and I believe when parliament resumes from recess these are matters that will be considered in the next meeting,” Mr. Tampuli said.
The Chairman of Parliament’s Road and Transport Committee, Kennedy Osei Nyarko, has urged the ministry and officials of GACL to submit the law mandating them to review the user fees and charges to the Committee.
He expressed concern about the paltry amount GACL charges domestic passengers: “Now they charge GH¢5 for every passenger passing through domestic airports.
“I have instructed them to bring back the law so we will be able to amend it; they should not be charging less than GH¢50 to maintain this airport. But we want them to run the numbers with us and justify it.
“I can assure you that if we don’t look for a revenue stream to maintain them, in less than a year all these beautiful edifices will go down the drain,” he said.
The Managing Director of GACL, Pamela Djamson Tettey, indicated that they are resolved to push through with the APSC, and they will work closely with the sector minister to ensure they meet up with parliament when they resume to attain the objective.
Ranking member of the Parliamentary Select Committee, Kwame Governs Agbodza, advised the GACL to be more innovative in raising funds to sustain domestic airports without recourse to government.
Both Kumasi and Tamale airports are nearing completion and are expected to be fully handed over some time next year, according to management of GACL.