Develop Roads for socioeconomic benefits

By Mildred Siabi-Mensah, GNA

Takoradi, Oct. 23, GNA – The Western Regional
Deputy Minister, Mrs Eugenia Gifty Kusi, on Monday called for the fixing of
roads in the Region, saying it is tantamount to increasing the economic
fortunes of the country.

“Western Region has become the duck that
laid the golden eggs for the country in terms of gold, cocoa, oil and other
natural resources, and contributed significantly about 15billion dollars in
foreign earnings last year, but with the a very deplorable road especially in
the hinterlands where cocoa is cultivated.

“When I was a Member of Parliament and had to
visit some communities in the cocoa growing areas, the situation leaves one
crying as lots of these commodities were left unattended to due to poor road
access or no road….sometimes, these farmers carry cocoa on the heads and trek
miles to the nearest destination,” Mr Kusi said.

She added that fixing roads and bridges in the
Region in particular, was absolute to increase foreign exchange earnings, which
had rippling developmental effects on other regions of the country.

The Deputy Minister said this during a
Regional Validation Workshop of the reviewed National Transport Policy in
Takoradi.

The Ministry of Transport in collaboration
with the other transport sector miniseries commissioned a review in July 2017
of the National Transport Policy 2008 to critically assess the content and
details of the policy, implementation efforts, identify gaps within the
existing policy and planning framework and recommend concrete actions that
could be taken within an updated National Transport Master plan and develop a
draft National Transport Policy for validation by stakeholders.

Mrs. Kusi added that if Ghana was to develop a
strong economy, sustainable environment and an inclusive society, then good
transport facilities were central to economic development and general quality
of life.

Mr. Abbey Sam, a lead Consultant and
Facilitator from Vision Consult Limited, said the consortium engaged
professional bodies, disability groups, political parties, the Private
Enterprise Foundation and civil society organisations to ascertain current road
situations in the country.

The Western Region situation among others include
inaccessibility during most part of the year, limited accessibility to markets
for farm produce, ineffective delivery of health and education as a result of
poor transport, limited rail access and non-functional rail services for
passengers and its negative impacts on the environment.

Mr. Sam mentioned that there was the need to
ensure gender sensitive decisions burning transport planning, well planned
transport systems at the district level, the introduction of BRT in major
cities and improve coordination between modes.

Other recommendations included the tarring of
all roads connecting districts capitals and regional capitals, asphalt roads in
district capitals, increase roads network to 70 percent in rural areas and
improvement in rail system for bulk transport and fast passenger movement.

Among other strategic context in developing
the Policy would include the Paris agreement on climate change, sustainable
development goals and Agenda 2063 by the African Union.

The National Level Development Agenda would
absorb the government’s coordinated programme of economic and social
development policies 2017 -2024.

The ten key thematic areas for the New Policy
Formulation include transport for all, Ghana as Transport hub, sustainable
transport, improved public and private investment in transport, integrated and
harmonized transport planning.

The rest are legal mandate for implementation
of transport policy and plans, enforcement of rules, regulations and standard,
research and development, develop human resource capacity and application of
new technologies in transport.

Mr. Sam said the validation was to help fine
tune the draft into a final Transport Policy, followed by a consultation with
Parliamentary Select Committee on Transport, a national workshop to updated it
before presenting it to government for a white paper to be issued for it
implementation.

GNA

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