Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has urged African
governments to strengthen coordination and harmonisation of their regional
policies and regulations to stimulate growth and expand opportunities in the
According to him, progress in the aviation sector
would not be sustained if the countries did not work together adding that
“There is the need for us to collaborate to eliminate unhealthy fragmentation,
minimise excessive regulation and protection of country airlines.”
Opening the two-day International Air Transport
Association (IATA) Regional Aviation Forum in Accra yesterday, the Vice
President said such cooperation, especially in the area of aviation, was
crucial for information sharing and adherence to industry regulations which
were necessary to support efforts to combat emerging security threats in the
Held on the theme “Aviation: Business for Regional
Prosperity”, the event brought together stakeholders in the aviation industry
from across Africa and Asia to discuss ways to tap opportunities in the sector
and increase its contribution to the overall development of the countries.
Although Africa was projected to be one of the fastest
growing aviation regions in the next two decades, Dr Bawumia stated that the
airline industry in the region was confronted with many challenges including
high taxes, fees, fuel cost and insurance.
Low access to financing which results in limited
investments in new aircraft, limited cooperation in flight scheduling and
insufficient connectivity between capital cities as well as fragmentation of
regional airline market, he said, were impediments to the growth of the aviation
sector in the sub-region.
To minimise the impact of these challenges, he said,
the government in 2017, abolished the 17.5 per cent value added tax on domestic air travel which
had resulted in an increase in domestic air transport within the past two years
as well as rapid growth in commercial activities across the country.
He said key amongst the government’s plan was to
improve infrastructure at the Kumasi, Tamale, and Takoradi airports in addition
to the Kotoka International Airport Terminal 3 adding that construction of
Tamale Airport Phase II would commence soon.
As part of efforts to make Accra an aviation hub in
the sub-region, the Vice President noted that Ghana would soon launch a home-based
carrier to provide regional and intercontinental flights within the West
He reiterated the government’s commitment to align and
integrate Ghana’s aviation infrastructure development plans with an
appropriately balanced development of transport modes, and link them with
national and regional development plans and strategies.
“The benefits to trade, to business people who are
seeking to expand markets are immense. Aviation also contributes to creating
jobs, stimulating tourism and trade among other benefits. We share a common
interest in maximising aviation benefits, and reaffirm Government’s commitment
towards creating an enabling economic environment and political willingness to
mainstream and reflect the priorities of the aviation sector in the global, regional
and national agenda,” Dr Bawumia added.
Regional Vice President of IATA, Muhammad Ali Albakri,
called for collaboration between African governments and the aviation industry
to remove barriers impeding the growth of the sector, while implementing joint
action plans to maximise the impact of the aviation sector.
For Africa, he said, such collaborations should focus
on improving safety, infrastructure and capacity-building, financial
sustainability, high industry costs and build connectivity which could be
achieved through the Single Africa Air Transport Market (SAATM).
Minister of Aviation, Joseph Kofi Adda, urged all
African governments to fully commit to the implementation of the SAATM which
would ensure liberalisation of access to air transport markets in the continent
as well as promote the realisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
BY YAW KYEI and CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS
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