Government revamps major railway networks to boost businesses

The Government’s agenda of revamping the railways to facilitate vibrant economic activities is on course and is still high on its priority projects, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, Finance Minister stated in Accra on Monday.

In that regard, he said government had initiated several projects in the railway sector, stressing that, the Ghana Railway Company Limited had completed the rehabilitation of the 30 kilometre narrow gauge railway line from Accra to Tema, which had enabled the restoration of passenger rail services on the corridor.

Mr Ofori-Atta stated in the presentation of the Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review of the 2019 Budget Statement and Economic Policy & Supplementary Estimates in Parliament in Accra.

He said the 40 kilometre Achimota to Nsawam line, had been rehabilitated and test runs had commenced in anticipation for the re-launch of the sub-urban commuter rail services from Accra to Nsawam to ease traffic congestion on the corridor.

Mr Ofori-Atta said preparatory activities had commenced for the extension of the narrow gauge rehabilitation works to Koforidua.

He noted that the engagement of a strategic investor for the development of the 303-kilometre Eastern Railway Line on standard gauge, from Accra to Kumasi with a branch line from Busoso to Atiwa through Kyebi on a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis with Ghanaian participation was at the final stages of procurement.

The Finance Minister said the rehabilitation of the Kojokrom-Tarkwa section of the Western railway line was progressing steadily and currently the project was 60 per cent complete and employs over 300 people.

Mr Ofori-Atta stated that work on the construction of the 22 kilometres standard gauge Kojokrom-Manso section of the Western railway was being undertaken in two phases.

“Phase I (Kojokrom- Eshiem) is 45 per cent complete and a major railway bridge is under construction at Eshiem,” he added.

On the Tema-Mpakadan (Akosombo) rail line, Mr ofori-Atta said significant progress had been made and the status of the project currently stood at about 45 per cent and was expected to be 58 per cent complete by the end of 2019.

He said feasibility studies had also been undertaken on the proposed 670 km Greenfield railway corridor from Kumasi to Paga, popularly known as the Central Spine.

Already, he recalled that a contract was signed for the development of the first phase from Kumasi to Bechem, a distance of about 103 km early this year.

He said the old Railway Training School and two workshops located at Essikadu, had received major refurbishments and facelifts.

“The training school is to be upgraded and equipped with modern teaching and learning facilities to enhance capacity building and skills development for the Railway Sector,” he said