Tax To Facilitate Aviation Infrastructural Development

The Minister of Transport, Ms Dzifa Attivor, has expressed her gratitude to the government for the allocation of 100 per cent Airport Passenger Service Charge (APSC) to the Ghana Airport Company as announced in this year's budget. She said the tax would facilitate the rehabilitation and development of aviation infrastructure, especially the transformation of the domestic airports. Moving the motion for the approval of the GHc187, 086,535 for the operations of the ministry for this year, Ms Attivor stated that the ministry played a crucial role in the country's economy and needed to be supported to enable it to develop the needed infrastructure in the sector. Elaborating on activities of the sector for this year, Ms Attivor mentioned the ongoing rehabilitation of the Sekondi-Takoradi sub-urban railway project and the rehabilitation of the railway stations along the Asoprochonaa-Accra and the Achimota-Nsawam lines in addition to the reconstruction of the Western Railway Lines. She said already, a $100 million loan had been approved by Parliament to upgrade the Tamale Airport. The ministry will also rehabilitate the Kumasi and Sunyani airports. Presenting the report of the Committee of Roads and Transport, the chairman of the committee, Mr Michael Coffie Boampong, expressed grave concern about the huge existing liability amounting to GHc12, 088,714.22 against the ministry. He said they included debts accrued from the supply of wooden sleepers, arrears of SSNIT contribution for workers of the Ghana Railway Company Limited and debts to GOIL. "There is eminent danger of the ministry being hauled before the courts with the possibility of valuable assets of the ministry being confiscated and auctioned to defray the debts. She, therefore, on behalf of the committee appealed to the Ministry of Finance to facilitate the release of funds to pay the debts. Contributing to the debate, the Ranking Member of the committee, who is also the MP for Ejisu, Mr Kwabena Owusu Aduomi, expressed concern about the paltry release of GHc1, 380,818 to the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) last year and the provision of just GHc1, 452,534 in this year's budget for the commission. He explained that the NRSC was the fulcrum around which strategies aimed at ensuring safety on the roads revolved. Mr Aduomi said it would therefore be appropriate that maximum attention be given to the commission by adequately resourcing it with funds to facilitate the efficient discharge of its mandate. He wondered why the a total of GHc70 million had to be allocated to ensure the safety on the Volta Lake in the 2012 and the 2013 budgets while the NRSC was not being properly resourced to prevent carnage on the road where about 2000 lives were lost through accidents annually.