Hon. Albert Kan-Dapaah, Minister for Communication and Technology said this when he took his turn in the weekly meet- the press series in Accra on Tuesday.
"The hitherto loss making organisation has been posting some positive returns", the minister noted. According to Hon Kan-Dapaah, the number of post offices had increased from 310 in 1998 to 327 in 2002, which represents an increase of five percent. Postal Agencies, he said also increased from 690 to 702, an increase of 1.7% over the same period. The postal network is made up of post offices, postal agencies and commission agencies.
These figures, Hon Kan-Dapaah noted need to be improved because it is the universal right of all Ghanaians irrespective of their location to have access to postal service.
To improve upon the policy supervision and monitoring role of the ministry within the postal and courier sector, Hon Kan-Dapaah said his outfit has created a desk specifically to facilitate strategies for monitoring innovations and integration of technology into the postal and courier industry.
He added that as part of the poverty alleviation programme, postal agencies would be upgraded. This, he said plans were far advanced to provide each region with five agencies through the HIPC Fund.
In a related development, Hon Kan-Dapaah said that Meteorological Service Department (MSD) would, by the close of October 2004, install Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) ground receiving station at its headquarters in Accra.
The minister explained that MSD was a specialized government department that provides reliable meteorological information to support activities of all sectors of the economy such as weather forecast, water resource management, aviation, shipping, tourism and warning to the general public on disaster preparedness.
Hon Kan-Dapaah maintained that installation of the new satellite would further boost the operations of MSD in the area of flood forecasting, flood damage assessment, forest fire monitoring, agricultural management, landslide monitoring, food security, post crisis food aid assessment and land cover changes, and pest monitoring.
The department, according to Hon Kan-Dapaah, under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), was to provide climatic information for medium to long-term development policies of the country. This was to ensure that development did not lead to dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climatic system.
Hon Kan-Dapaah said that Kotoka International Airport satellite station, which currently uses Primary Data User System (PDUS), would be upgraded to make it compatible with the new satellite (MSG) by the end of this year and use for Aeronautical Forecasting activities at the various airports in the country, adding that that would enhance accuracy of short-range forecast for safe, economic and timely operation of aircrafts.
The Minister also announced that the obsolete and analogue High Frequency (HF) radio voice communication system currently use by MSD for internal data collection would be replaced with a Wide Area Network (WAN) based on appropriate medium (telephone lines, satellite) and that would be implemented to cover a network of the 10 regional meteorological offices including the 22 districts meteorological offices in the country so as to ensure efficient reception of meteorological data dissemination to other users. He said funds would be sourced to implement this project during the 2004 fiscal year.
The minister noted that the solution to the problems of MSD was to operate as revenue generating agency to support its operations, adding that 70% of MSD's service activities were rendered to the aviation industry at little or no cost contrary to the international agreements concluded between the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and World Meteo Organisation (WMO) that enjoins the Aviation Industry to pay for the cost of services rendered by MSD.
However, the minister stated that plans were far advanced to transform MSD into semi autonomous meteorological agency before the end of this year.