General News of Friday, 3 March 2017
The Akufo-Addo-led government must appreciate the good initiatives made by the previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) government in the rail sector, Haruna Iddrisu, Minority Leader has said.
According to him, those initiatives undertaken by former President John Mahama form the foundation upon which President Akufo-Addo will extend rail to Kibi in the Eastern Region to help in the transportation of minerals and other goods.
Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, during the presentation of the government’s budget on Thursday 2 March, said among other things: “This government believes that rail will be a major catalyst to drive the growth that we envisage in the coming years.
“In that regard, government will complete the Sekondi to Takoradi via Kojokrom section and continue with the section from Kojokrom to Tarkwa through Nsuta. This will help improve the operational performance and revenue of Ghana Railway Company Limited (GRCL) and enable the Company wean itself from government support. In addition, it will enhance the performance and competitiveness of the manganese mine located on the corridor. Work will commence on the Western Line which starts from Takoradi and terminates at Kumasi, having two branch lines namely Dunkwa to Awaso and Kojokrom to Sekondi, covering a distance of 340km.
“The corridor, when completed, will facilitate the haulage of manganese, bauxite, cocoa and other bulk commodities. The Feasibility Studies and Front End Engineering Design (FEED) have already been done on the Line. We will also initiate discussion to secure funding for other major projects, such as the Central Spine which stretches from Kumasi to Paga covering a distance of 700km. The corridor is a green field and will be developed in sections. The sections are Kumasi to Buipe and Buipe to Paga. A prefeasibility study was undertaken on the line, and in 2017, we plan to undertake full feasibility studies to enable the Ministry to invite developers and source funding for the development. The Eastern Railway Line will cover a distance of 330km and starts from Accra to Kumasi with a branch line from Achimota to Tema. When the line becomes operational, it will decongest the port and facilitate the movement of cargo and passengers to Kumasi and its environs.
“The Central Railway Line will cover a distance of 200km and spans from Kotoku on the Eastern Line to Huni Valley on the Western Line. It will have a branch line from Achiase to Kade and we plan to undertake feasibility study on the line and extend it to Kibi.”
Responding to the government’s budget at a press conference organised by the Minority in Parliament on Friday 3 March, Mr Iddrisu said the previous NDC government must be credited for “having…ensured the feasibility studies taken on the engineering design for commencement of work on the Western line which starts from Takoradi to Kumasi, to Dunkwa to Awaso”, adding: “Yesterday, we heard Kibi, so that some bauxite there to can benefit from this railway facility.
“They (Akufo-Addo government) should be able to accept that some good work had been done by the previous NDC administration.”