PARLIAMENT has passed the Ghana Meteorological Agency (Amendment Act), Act 682 to increase the Agency’s revenue.
The amendment act specifies the percentage of charges to be used as source of money for the National Meteorological Fund and for related purposes.
The Ghana Meteorological Agency Act, 2004 (Act 682) was passed by Parliament in 2004 and provides for the establishment of the Ghana Meteorological Agency under the Ministry of Communications.
The Agency under the Act is mandated among others to ensure the delivery of accurate weather and climate information to organisations in accordance with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.
After fifteen years of implementing the Act, the Ghana Meteorological Agency has faced a number of challenges inhibiting the full realization of the objectives of the Act.
To address these challenges, the government found it necessary to amend it to strengthen the finances of the Agency and expand the representation on its governing board.
Both the International Civil Aviation Organisation and the World Meteorological Organisation acknowledges the need for meteorological agencies across the globe to recover costs for the provision of aeronautical services for the aviation sector.
These organisations however, deferred the decision on how member states should fund their meteorological agencies to the state either from the central government or on a cost-sharing basis.
Although, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority and the Agency on the 11th of September 2008 in which the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority agreed to cede ten per cent of the landing charges to the Agency for the payment of aeronautical meteorological services, the lack of specificity in the Act made it difficult for the Agency to get the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority to pay the Agency to cover its cost of services to the aviation sector.
According to the Minister of Communications, Mrs Ursula Owusu Ekuful, who moved for the passage, the amended act would permanently resolve the financial challenges of the Agency.
Per the amendment, percentage of charges from the aviation sector would form part of the sources of money for the national meteorological fund.
These are 10 per cent percent of all landing charges based on actual receipts for the period in question; ten per cent of over-flight or en-route charges collected by the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority and five per cent of passenger service charges collected by airports in the country.