A concrete railway sleeper plant has been inaugurated at the Dawa Industrial City in the Greater Accra Region to manufacture concrete sleepers – steel reinforced rectangular supports for rails – in the country and the sub-region at large.
The plant, which is owned by Atlantic Concrete, is expected to save the country up to US$27 million per annum when in full capacity, the Vice-President, Dr Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia, said at the inauguration at Dawa.
It is expected to produce 500 pieces of the sleepers daily.
The expected savings is the amount the country spends annually on sleepers for railroads.
Although durable and cost effective than the traditional wood, concrete sleepers are not common in Africa and that makes the inauguration of the Atlantic Concrete Sleeper Plant a novelty.
The company is a subsidiary of LMI Holdings and their construction of the sleepers will go on at the Dawa Industrial City, a 2,000-acre park that will serve as a hub for manufacturing concerns in the national capital.
The city is expected to serve as a class infrastructure that will facilitate the establishment of industrial projects by investors.
Railway master plan
Dr Bawumia said the project was part of the government’s efforts at reviewing its railway master plan to ensure maximum private sector participation in railway infrastructure and commercial rail services development.
He indicated that railway sleepers were critical components of railway infrastructure and manufacturing sleepers in the country was a giant step in attracting foreign exchange.
“I am informed that when operating at full capacity, the Atlantic Concrete Sleeper Plant will save Ghana up to $27 million per annum in foreign exchange and this is very significant,” he stated.
He said the plant, which had just commenced operation, showed the government’s desire to transition the economy in the direction of greater local value addition.
“It is a much welcomed project by LMI Holdings, and it will complement the government’s job creation initiatives.
“The importance of a well-run railway sector to the economy cannot be overstated. An effectively run railway sector will contribute to economic growth by significantly lowering the cost and time for moving goods and people, and by extension, ensuring economies of scale and reducing domestic production costs. It will also open up the country and help enhance market access and opportunities,” he said.
The Vice-President disclosed that the government intended to create an atmosphere to help the private sector operate in a predictable, stable business environment that would allow the sector to invest, expand and be profitable.
“While creating jobs and opportunities for our people, the government is committed to reviewing or amending all relevant laws and regulations that often stifle investments and the flow of business and transactions,” he mentioned.
Amendment of Railways Act
The Deputy Minister of Railway Development, Mr Kweku Agyenim Boateng, who read a speech on behalf of the sector Minister, Mr Joe Ghartey, disclosed that the government was in the process of reviewing the Railways Act 2008, (Act 779) to separate the regulatory function of the Ghana Railway Development Authority (GRDA) from its mandate of improving railway assets and promoting the development and management of sub-urban railway.
He said the sleeper plant would speed up the development of the railway sector since the government could now acquire railway sleepers, which were a major component of railway infrastructure locally.
“I want to assure you of government’s commitment to this partnership because this initiative is very impressive and will complement efforts by government to revamp the railway industry,” he stated.
Regional Industrial Zones
The Dawa Industrial Zone project on the Accra–Aflao highway is one of four Regional Industrial Zones (RIZs) under construction by LMI Holdings, a diversified Ghanaian conglomerate with over $200 million in assets and $60 million in annual turnover.
The project consists of a 2,000-acre industrial park with adjoining residential developments aimed at offering litigation-free and fully serviced plots within secure enclaves equipped with reliable power, water and data connections to spark an industrial revolution.
The development of these RIZs will complement the government’s one-region, one-industrial zone policy by creating regional hubs for medium to large-scale industries, where infrastructure and services can be concentrated in order to achieve economies of scale.
Source: Daily Graphic
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