The Member of Parliament (MP) for Nsawam/Adoagyiri, , has urged the government to take the development of the railway system seriously since that could help to drastically reduce the cost of haulage of heavy-duty goods and transportation of passengers across the country.
The MP, who made the call in a statement on the Floor of Parliament on Tuesday, on the need to save the deteriorating railway industry said, ‘The ruling National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) government has been offering lip-service to the development of the railway industry even though it has consistently demonstrated its intention to developing the collapsing railway system in the country.’
He said the expansion of railway system would also help in prolonging the lifespan of the country’s major roads as all heavy-duty goods were carted by roads.
Hon Annoh-Dompreh said the proliferation of heavy road articulated trucks taking over the haulage of timber and cocoa to the ports in the late 1970s seriously affected the fortunes of the rail system, with trains carrying less than 350,000 tonnes of goods which was just a fraction of what it used to carry in the past as well as two million passengers a year.
“Mr Speaker, as a developing country, our railway transport system should be of prime concern to us. There is an urgent need for us to revive and revamp the railway system to help play a central role in the growth of the economy,” The Nsawam/Adoagyiri MP said.
He indicated that statistics had shown that when the railway system was active during the 1960s and 1970s, there was considerable amount of excess revenue over expenditure which boosted the economy substantially.
He regretted, however that, such surplus revenue generated by the railway since its inception in 1903 was not used properly by successive governments with proper arrangements being made to modernise and expand the railway system.
The MP wanted to know what had become of the government’s plan to restructure the railway system through concessionary arrangements to introduce private sector participation.
Contributing to the statement, the MP for Takoradi, Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, said one of the most hardworking set of government workers was railway workers, and that ‘the government must openly invest in the railway system to bring life back to areas where railways have been the main means of transport.’
By Thomas Fosu Jnr
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