Railway Transformation Agenda On Course…Joe Ghartey Tours Railway Terminal Towns [PHOTOS]

The Minister for Railways Development, Mr Joe Ghartey has embarked on a day's visit to railway towns in the Eastern Region to meet with stakeholders to discuss on how to ensure the successful revamping of the rail system in the country.

To the chiefs and landowners, the visit was to outline the benefits of the project to their subjects and the community as a whole.

To the workers, it was to inspect the level of work done and to boost their moral to meet the time lines set for the completion of the project.

The towns visited included; Adjen Kotoku in the Ga West Municipality, Twento and Nsawam in the Nsawam Adoagyiri Municipality.

Speaking at the various locations, the Minister indicated that the development of the railway lines were paramount to economic development, hence he would do anything possible to ensure the success of the project.

He stated that his outfit would work to ensure that Ghana gets more railway lines than what its colonial masters left behind.

He said: “Our colonial masters left behind 947 km railway lines but today, we have only 60kms left. We would ensure that we add more to it to get more than what our colonial masters left behind. As a result, we would extend the lines beyond Kumasi.”

He said the president has set aside GH¢15 million for the project and believes the amount would be able to complete about 60% of the work.

“In order not to burden the government and exert pressure on our scarce financial resources, the ministry and all stakeholders involved would find alternative ways to fund the project”, he said.

Outlining the various benefits that the community stands to gain, Mr Ghartey indicated that the project would create employment and boost business activities in the three communities.

He said the ministry would employ 720 Ghanaians, of which the youth of the three communities would be included.

He said an observation in countries where railway systems operate show that business activities and infrastructural developments are in good shape especially in towns where the terminals exist. He, therefore, urged the indigenes to collaborate with the workers to ensure the success of the project.

He also beckoned to the chiefs to ensure that their subjects stay clear of the places marked for the project.

Mr Richard Diedong Dombo, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ghana Railway Development Authority (GRDA), on his part stated that the railway sector had been revived and that his outfit would collaborate with the ministry to ensure the success of the project.

He indicated that the railway sector was capital intensive, but since it is one of the flagship projects of the sitting government, his outfit would explore every avenue possible to see its success.

He said the construction of a kilometer of rail track is estimated to cost $4.5 million -meaning an amount of $21 billion would be required to execute the lines they intend to construct.

“Hence we would exploit other avenues, such as Build Operate Transfer ( BOT), Build, Own Operate Transfer (BOOT), Public Private Partnership ( PPP) and Barter system of trade to complement government's funds for the project.

“Internationally, people have also expressed their interest in the project, so we would look at those avenues too”, he added.

According to him, his outfit would create a lasting railway line safe for human carriage and that people should pardon them if they are not able to the meet the time limits set for the completion of the project.

“The revival of the railway is a reality so people should come on board and help make it better,” he added.

Mr Frank Annor Dompreh, MP for Nsawam Adoagyiri also expressed his delight about the project and indicated that “it is very important for the ministry and the community to collaborate so that they can work in peace”, adding “We don't want a situation whereby the workers would be hampered from doing their work by the indigenes and that is why we are here to have a talk with you”.

He said the railway, when completed, would be of great benefit to the community, therefore, they should put their political affiliation aside and support the course.

“Many political parties came and exited but none was able to put the railway system into a good shape, so if someone has seen its importance and he's doing it, please let's all support him,” he said.