The development of roads is vital – Minister

Takoradi, Oct. 24, GNA – Mrs Eugenia Gifty
Kusi, the Western Regional Deputy Minister, has said there is the need to
improve the road network within the Region adding that fixing them is
tantamount to increasing the economic fortunes of the country.

“Western Region has become the duck that lays
the golden eggs for the country in terms of gold, cocoa, oil and other natural
resources and made a significant contribution to the 15 billion dollar the
country earned in foreign earnings last year but has very deplorable roads
especially in the hinterlands.

“When I was a Member of Parliament and had to
visit some communities in the cocoa growing areas, the situation leaves one
crying as many of these commodities were left unattended to due to poor road
access or no roads; sometimes we see farmers carrying cocoa on the heads and
trek for miles to the nearest destination”, she said.

She said fixing roads and bridges in the
Region is important to help facilitate work and enhance earnings accrued from
the area.

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

The Ministry of Transport in collaboration
with the other transport sector ministries commissioned a review in July 2017
of the National Transport Policy 2008 to 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 said if Ghana is to develop a strong
economy, sustainable environment and an inclusive society, then good transport
facilities are central to attain them.

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 the current
road situation in the country.

In the Western Region the situation among
others include inaccessibility during the 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.

Mr Sam said there is the urgent need to ensure
that gender sensitive decisions are made during transport planning, well
planned transport systems at the district level, the introduction of BRT in
major cities and improved coordination between modes.

Other recommendations include 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 goals 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 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 Abbey Sam said the validation was to help
fine tune the draft into a final Transport Policy followed by a consultation
with the Parliamentary select committee on transport before presenting it to
government for a white paper to be issued for it implementation.

GNA

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