The Minister for Railway Development, Mr. John-Peter Amewu has reiterated Government’s commitment to revamp the railway sector to global standards. He said no country can survive without a railway network as this helps boost the economy, hence it is important for Ghana to build a vibrant railway system to bring development within communities, create job opportunities and reduce poverty. He was optimistic that the railway projects when completed, will increase Ghana’s GDP by two to three percent.
The Minister made this comment on Tuesday, 13th April 2021, during a working visit to the Tema - Mpakadan railway project site to ascertain the progress of work so far.
He was accompanied by a delegation from the Ministry and the Ghana Railway Development Authority (GRDA). Also at the site were Messrs AFCONS Infrastructure Limited, contractors of the project and TEAM Engineering S.p.A, supervision consultants.
The Minister and his team inspected ongoing construction works on the rail head (terminal) at kilometer 97 by the lake, the 300-meter Volta rail bridge at Senchi, the Doryumu railway station and the completed track works.
Speaking to the media, Mr. Amewu observed that ongoing construction works on the Tema - Mpakadan rail project, which is approximately 97.9 kilometers is about 80% complete. According to him, although Ghana’s railway system was left to deteriorate for many years, the time has now come to ensure that President Akufo-Addo’s vision to transform the sector comes to fruition.
The project could not meet its August 2020 completion date due to the Covid-19 pandemic which stalled construction works. He however charged the contractors to work within the revised timeliness and ensure value for money is achieved. The Railway Minister expressed his appreciation and satisfaction on the overall status of the project and encouraged the contractors to continue with the good works being done.
On his part, the Vice President of AFCONS, Mr. Udai Veer Singh assured the Government that his team would work assiduously to ensure they provide value for money, informing the Minister that they would fast-track on-going construction works and complete the project by end of November 2021.
The Ag. Chief Executive Officer of GRDA, Mr. Yaw Owusu who was part of the Minister’s entourage disclosed that the Ministry of Finance has approved the purchase of two Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) for operations on the line.
Prior to the inspection, the Minister and his entourage called on the Paramount Chief of Akwamu, Odeneho Kwafo-Akoto III at Akwamufie in the Eastern Region.
Welcoming the delegation, the Akwamumanhene, expressed his admiration to the Minister for paying him a courtesy visit at the palace and also taking time off his busy schedule for the inspection. He commended President Akufo-Addo for his decisive stewardship and vision towards the revamping of the railway sector.
Odeneho Akoto III raised some concerns that needed to be addressed such as the granting of scholarships for the youth in the community, construction of accessible roads and bridges in their traditional area.
Touching on land acquisition, Odeneho Akoto III commended Government for the payment of compensation for acquired lands for development in the country adding that same should be done for affected landowners along the railway corridors.
The Minister commended the Chief and Elders for the role they have played since the inception the project. The Railway Minister pledged his commitment to ensure that challenges affecting the progress of work would be addressed. He also promised to arrange for a scholarship award scheme that will cater for brilliant but needy students in the community as a way of support to the community.
On the access roads, he promised that he would pass on the request of information to his colleague Minister for Roads and Highways, Mr. Kweku Amoako-Atta for necessary action.
He appealed to the Chief, Elders and people of Akwamu to keep up the good work and provide the requisite assistance for the successful completion of the project for the benefit of both the community and the good people of Ghana.