Government Rolls Out Comprehensive Program To Revamp The Railway Sector

The government has rolled out a comprehensive programme to revamp the country’s railway sector. Poor management and low investment has left the once vibrant railway sector in a bad state requiring urgent revamping.

Currently due to the bad nature of the railway lines and the lack of coaches, several heavy goods, like timber and heavy equipment, which hitherto depend on the rail form of transportation, are being carted by road thus causing most of the roads to deteriorate.

But the Ministry of Transport has hinted of a plan to restore the ailing railway sector to its glory days.

This has been necessitated due to criticism of government’s rhetoric on the rehabilitation and expansion of existing rail infrastructure.

Deliberating on the railway sub-sector in an exclusive interview with Live News’ Ekow Annan, the Deputy Minister of Transport, Joyce Mogtari Bawah mentioned the progress of work in the railway industry.

“I am happy to recall that in recent times, the government of Ghana and the Brazilian government have agreed to fund almost half of the Western railway line. With respect to the next portion of it leading to Kumasi, we also have a company that is very keen to invest. With regards to the Eastern railway line, we realize that without the commencement of the railway line, it will be unable to deeply develop the Boankra inland port” she said.

In a related development,
Madam Mogtari Bawah has underscored the importance of the upgrade of the Tamale Airport to an International status.

This she noted will open up the three Northern region’s – which are the most deprived and poorest in the country – to some form of international activity which will help turn around their economic fortunes.

When completed, it will become Ghana’s second international airport after the Kotoka Airport.

The completion of this airport is expected to divert some traffic from the KIA, as Ghana makes giant strides to upgrade its airline infrastructure to rival Africa’s key hubs such as Ethiopia and South Africa.

The first phase of the project, which is being undertaken solely by the Ghana Airports Company (GAC) with a $100-million Brazilian facility, is expected to end in 2015.

The components includes a 4,000-metre runway extension, the construction of additional aprons, the installation of aeronautical ground lighting systems and the construction of a perimeter road and a security fence.

Upon completion, the Tamale International Airport will be able to accommodate larger aircraft, including the Boeing 747-800 series.

“The tamale upgrade will bring it to the level of an international airport which has been in the cast for a very long time. In fact even at the time when Kwame Nkrumah cut the sod for that particular airport to be developed, his vision then was for it to be a second international airport to augment the services been offered by the Kotoka international airport. But of course due to the same concern which was the lack of funding, that dream did not come to fusion then. What we have decided to do now and something that the president considers as a priority project is to develop that airport” Joyce Mogtari Bawah said.

Touching on the benefits the airport will bring to the Northern part of the country, she added that “we have several of our agricultural pro-businesses in that part of Ghana. So I believe that opening up this facility for at least, some level of international activities will also encourage business in that regard.”

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