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Ghana: Government develops master-plan to revive rail sector

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Government develops master-plan to revive rail sectorThe Ghana Railway Development Authority with the Ministry of Transport has formulated a master-plan aimed at revamping the almost-dead railway sector. Mrs. Joyce Mogtari, the Deputy Minister of Transport, said the plan seeks to rehabilitate, modernise, and expand Ghana’s ailing rail network, thus recognising the economic benefits of rail transport. Currently, out of the 947km track length, only 130km is operational with freight services as well as passenger service. The Deputy Minister, addressing the National Executive Council Meeting of the Railway Workers Union of the Trades Union Congress, said government through its sole resources is reconstructing the Takoradi/Sekondi via Kojokrom sub-urban lines to ease road traffic.

Mrs. Mogtari said due to the capital intensive nature of the rail line project, government is looking at the Public Private Partnership approach, explaining that this alternative financing arrangement will ensure adequate investment in the provision and maintenance of various infrastructure and services. The minister announced an increment in the salaries of rail workers as a measure by the government to alleviate some of their economic burdens. She urged them: “Refrain from any activities that will worsen an already bad situation, such as granting leases, and selling off railway lands and assets”. Mr. Godwill Ntarmah, General Secretary of the Union, said the history of Ghana’s economic development cannot be written without mention of the rail sector.

Also, he said, trains continue to play a pivotal role in the progress of most advanced countries, and emphasised the need for the sector to be revived toward national economic growth. Additionally, he said, rail transport is also cheaper to operate and more affordable. Mr. Benjamin Amofa, Managing Director of the Railway Authority, said the sector could be self-reliant with even 100,000 tonnes of commodities, and called for the immediate repair of lines and appropriate investments into the sector.

http://thebftonline.com/content/govt-develops-master-plan-revive-rail-sector

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