A bill to assist the Ghana Maritime Authority to carry out additional responsibilities towards the effective management of offshore oil and gas production is expected to be passed into law soon.
The Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) (Amendment) Bill, 2011, currently before parliament, will amend the GMA Act, 2002 (Act 630) to help the Authority fix specific levies, fees and charges to cover administrative costs to meet new responsibilities.
A report of the parliamentary Committee on Roads and Transport said Act 630 helped the Authority to carry out various responsibilities such as maritime safety, marine pollution and the ratification and implementation of international conventions but the discovery of oil and gas and its production has imposed many new challenges for the Authority in developing the necessary policy, administrative, legislative and human capacity to support oil and gas development.
The amendment to the existing law is therefore necessary for the Authority to introduce fees and charges as sources of funding for the “Authority to meet its enhanced responsibilities,” the report stated.
This has also become necessary because “historically, the Ghana Maritime Authority had focused on traditional shipping and navigation matters. Today the Authority has expanded roles and responsibilities which are specific and crucial in contributing towards the effective management of the complex processes involved in offshore oil and gas production,” it added.