By Ebun Sessou
Ghana’s Aviation Minister, Cecilia Abena Dapaah recently won the Balafon Award of Excellence as the Aviation Minister of the Year in West Africa.
In presenting the award to the Minister, a founding member of theteamafrica, organisers of Accra Weizo 2018, Ikechi Uko explained that aviation ministers in the sub-region were selected, of which two from Ghana and Nigeria were shortlisted.
He explained that Accra Weizo is a travel event now in its 4th edition, aimed at creating a seamless travel environment, which brings together travel professionals in West Africa.
Speaking on some of the criteria for selection, he said the capability of ministers in the past 12 months to implement policies that drove growth of aviation in the respective countries was the major consideration.
Uko said that not only has Dapaah been able to implement some of the things that the ministry set out to do, but has influenced Nigeria to copy certain policies such as the removal of VAT for domestic airlines.
Uko further said: “Based on what you have done with your airport, Nigeria’s new terminal that should have been completed is now being remodelled to bring it to par with that which is in Ghana.
“The Aviation Minister for the past 12 months has served as a big model for other West African countries to follow. We want others in the sub-region to see what Ghana has done and also learn from that,” he said.
In receiving the award, the Aviation Minister acknowledged the efforts of her team in the ministry.
“We work diligently together and make sure we push aviation to the highest frontiers that we can ever have in the country.
“As part of rigorous effort to further the growth of the industry in Ghana, the ministry has initiated a number of strategic aviation programmes. key among them is the soon completion of Terminal 3 at the Kotoka International Airport to be commissioned in October and the on-going decoupling of air navigation services from regulatory services.
“Others include the construction of a state-of-the-art air navigation services complex, among others,” she said.
Cecilia Abena Dapaah is a Ghanaian politician. She is a member of the New Patriotic Party and a former member of Parliament for the Bantama Constituency.
She previously served as the Deputy Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing in President Kufuor’s government, from 2005 to 2006, and became the substantive Minister from 2007 to 2008. Whilst in parliament as MP for Bantama, she served on various committees such as Works and Housing; Advisory Committee to the Speaker; Employment, Social Welfare and Youth; Foreign Affairs; and Special Budget.