Gov’t Targets 1,394 km Rail Lines
Some of the participants at the forum
The Minister for Railways Development, Joe Ghartey, has revealed that a total of 1,394 kilometres will be constructed within the next four years.
He indicated that the Ministry, as part of a Master Plan, would construct the new lines of standard gauge to tackle increased traffic and modernize the rail network.
According to him, his ministry requires close to $21 billion to complete the 4,007.6 kilometers to add to the existing 339 kilometers of rail lines inherited from the colonial masters.
He mentioned that the projects, when completed, would create a number of jobs and facilitate trade and industrial development, as well as stimulate economic growth.
“New towns and cities would be developed and other older towns revitalized,” he added.
The Minister said this in an address read on his behalf at the first annual public lectures organized by the Sekondi-Takoradi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (STCCI) on the revamping of Ghana’s Railway Sector.
It was on the theme: ‘Revitalization of the Railway Sector: Impact and Implications for the Port of the Twin City of Sekondi-Takoradi, Western Region and Ghana.’
Nana Kobina Nketsia V, the Paramount Chief of Essikado Traditional Council, noted that revamping the railway sector must be done concurrently with the revival of communities along the said rail lines to ensure effective socio-economic development.
Paramount Chief of Essikado remarked that “we need to create facilities and industries along the railway to add value to the many raw materials from the hitherlands before they are exported into other countries.”
Peter Bediako, Deputy Director of Marketing and Public Relations of the Takoradi Port, also indicated that the rail sector continues to make significant contributions towards export in some West African countries and bemoaned the fact that Ghana was lagging behind.
Mayor for Sekondi-Takoradi, Anthony Kurentsir Sam, stressed that the government was committed to transforming both the local and national economy through the railways and that the standards of living of the people are expected to improve greatly.
He said the collapse of the sector had negatively affected virtually all sectors of the local economy, adding that “some years back commuters could easily access train services.”
“Bauxite, manganese, logs and other agricultural products were also carted to the Takoradi Port for export by train which relieved the pressure on the road,” he revealed.
He pointed out that the local economies of Sekondi-Takoradi and the Western Region would revolve around the revamped railway industry.
Ato Van-Ess, Chairman of the STCCI, noted that the Chamber would continue to partner government and the Ministry to ensure the successfully implementation of the railway master plan.
From Emmanuel Opoku, Takoradi