Parliament has approved the sum of GhȻ126, 317, 102 for the Ministry of Transport for the 2016 financial year. The budgetary allocation would enable the Ministry to execute it’s programmes and activities for next year.
The Minister of Transport, Ms Dzifa Attivor, who moved the motion for the approval of the estimates, said the amount allocated fell far short of what the Ministry required to carry out its activities for the year.
Presenting the report of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Roads and Transport on the budget estimates, the Chairman of the committee, Mr Theophilus Tetteh Chaie, said the expansion and refurbishment of the international arrival hall of the Kotoka International Airport and the construction of the southern apron would continue to completion in 2016.
Activities for 2016
He said the upgrading of the Tamale Airport and expansion of the runway would be completed in 2016.
Works on the Wa aerodrome and airstrip for domestic airline operations would commence in 2016 while preparatory works at the Ho aerodrome would continue.
Identification and selection of a strategic investor in respect of the establishment of a national carrier, he added, would also be carried out next year.
With regard to the maritime services programme, Mr Chaie said in 2016, the three 50 – seater high speed passenger ferries and one modular ferry would be deployed on the Volta Lake for operations.
He said the construction of the Takoradi Logistics Platform for warehousing of materials for the oil fields and the dredging of berths and basins to 14 meters depth would be operationalised in the year 2016.
The Tema Port Jetty would be completed in the 2016 fiscal year to facilitate the handling of bulk cargo.
Observations and recommendations
Mr Chaie noted that the shortage of critical staffing at some agencies under the Ministry of Transport, such as the Ghana Railway Development Authority ( GRDA), the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC), the Driver Vehicle and Licensing Authority ( DVLA ) and the Ghana Technical Training Centre (GTTC) would impact negatively on the operations of the agencies.
He said numerous correspondence to the Ministry of Finance for authorisation to employ had not received the needed attention. He appealed to the House to ensure a quick resolution of the matter. On domestic aviation, Mr Chaie said it was currently faced with a challenge which had the potential of crippling the once vibrant industry in the country.
He said while foreign international airlines were exempted from taxes in the I, portion of spare parts, their domestic counterparts paid taxes on all spare parts they imported. The recent introduction of VAT on domestic flights had shot up airfares, making it expensive for many people to use air transport resulting in low patronage.
Further, he said, the Tax on jet fuel had made the price of the commodity high as compared to other countries in the sub-region.
“Indeed, the domestic airline operators have communicated to the committee, the difficulty in meeting their optimal operational cost in view of the enumerated taxes. The committee, therefore, appeals to the House to re – look at the taxes to save the domestic air flights from further decline,”he said.