The Minister-designate for the Ministry of Railway Development, Mr. John - Peter Amewu has emphasized on the need for the sector to engage local contractors in the construction of the railway lines.
He said the cost of constructing a kilometre was about six million dollars ($6,000,000) which is very expensive, hence if the sector could engage local contractors, this cost would be reduced and major jobs would be created for Ghanaians and revenue earned through taxes.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Hohoe Constituency, made this comment when he took his turn at parliament to be vetted for the position of the Minister for Railway Development on Wednesday, 24th February 2021.
He indicated that when given the approval, in the first six months in office, he would work on two policies; first to redefine the role of the Ghana Railway Development Authority (GRDA) and second to focus on the regional interconnectivity of the railway lines.
According to him, the role of GRDA as an asset holder and a regulator was conflicting hence the need to separate these two roles and get an independent institution to be in charge of the asset management.
The Minister-designate explained that there should be a policy that would ensure that all regions were linked through the railway lines as captured in the Railway Master Plan. He assured the Appointments Committee of Parliament that when approved, he will extend the rail lines to the Northern parts of the country as captured in the railway master plan, adding that the Ministry would take steps to construct a rail lines that connects Kumasi to Tema through the Boankra Inland port. He promised to look into issues of encroachment, land acquisition and right of way, if approved.
Responding to questions on the Light Rail Transit System, Mr. Amewu told the Committee that Government of Ghana is undertaking feasibility studies and would provide details in due course.
He was of the view that the railways sector must be considered as a social project for funding whereby the funds would reflect on the balance sheet of government, then it would be worth paying the cost of construction since the project would increase economic growth and the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Mr. John Peter Amewu used the platform to applaud his predecessor, Mr. Joe Ghartey for laying a solid foundation in the development of the railway sector. Mr. Amewu promised the Committee that if approved, he would put in measures to continue to build on the work of his predecessor.