The Minister for Railways Development, Hon. Joe Ghartey, on Tuesday, 14th May, 2019 paid a working visit to the Ghana Railway Company Limited Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) workshop in Tema. With him were the Deputy Minister for Railways Development Hon. Andy Appiah-Kubi, Deputy Greater Accra Regional Minister Hon. Elizabeth Sackey, Board Chair of the Ghana Railway Company Limited (GRCL) Mrs. Adelaide Benneh, Acting MD of GRCL Mr. John Essel, CEO of the Ghana Railway Development Authority (GRDA) Mr. Richard Diedong Dombo, Mayor of Tema, Hon. Felix Mensah Nii Anang-La. Also present were officials from the Ministry of Railways Development, GRDA, GRCL and the Tema Metropolitan Assembly.
The purpose of the visit was to ascertain the progress of work on the rehabilitation of coaches. It forms part of the Minister’s new monitoring programme dubbed “Enhancing Monitoring Programme” which entails constant onsite monitoring by the Minister and all Agency heads.
The Acting Managing Director of GRCL Mr. John Essel briefed the Minister and his entourage on how far they have come with the refurbishment of the old coaches. GRCL has completed works on five coaches while five others are undergoing rehabilitation works. These are for conventional train operations.
Mr. Essel said they are working around the clock to see to the early completion of the rehabilitation works. He assured that the GRCL will have full complement of the conventional train comprising a locomotive and 10 coaches as soon as possible.
The Government of Ghana is in the process of purchasing some rolling stock made up of 30 new locomotives, coaches and wagons for the new standard gauge lines. The rehabilitated conventional trains will run on the existing narrow gauge lines, Accra –Tema –Nsawam lines.
Minister for Railways Development Hon. Joe Ghartey expressed satisfaction at the work done in less than two years of President Akufo-Addo’s Government. He urged them to do more to better their conditions. On the low salaries of GRCL, the Sector Minister called on the Management of the GRCL to tap more from the manganese company by increasing their haulage capacity and also to speed up work on the Takwa line. This he said will boost the financial in-flow of the company. Hon. Joe Ghartey further urged them to learn how to cost their contracts properly and charge economic rates so they can pay their workers well. He pledged Government’s support for the GRCL generally as operators and also as contractors for the rehabilitation of the narrow gauge railway network.
The 70.8-kilometre narrow-gauge section of the Eastern Railway line from Accra to Nsawam is completed. The Chief Executive Officer of the Regulator, Ghana Railway Development Authority, Mr. Richard Diedong Dombo said the GRDA would soon be conducting a test run on the Achimota to Nsawam section of the Accra to Nsawam line. This is to ensure that the line is safe for use. The Accra to Achimota section of the line is already in use.
Prior to the visit to the DMU workshop, the Minister and his entourage called on the Chief of Tema Nii Adjei Kraku II and his elders. The Chief welcomed the delegation to his palace. Nii Adjei Kraku II applauded the Akufo-Addo led Government for their vision and hard work to bring alive rail transport system in the country.
He applauded Hon. Joe Ghartey who he described as his old friend, for his hard work to realize the vision of the President. The Chief of Tema said the people of Tema are craving for their first love, active railway lines to boost economic activities in the area. He expressed interest to support the project in several ways.
Mayor of Tema Hon. Felix Mensah Nii Anang-La made a passionate appeal to the Minister for Railways Development for the restoration of Tema Technical Institute. He appealed to Hon. Joe Ghartey to consider absorbing students from Tema Tech. into the railway sector.
The Sector Minister gave officials of the Ghana Railway Company Limited and GRDA three months to present to him a roadmap to include Tema Technical Institute in the development of the human resource base of the railways sector. Hon. Joe Ghartey later signed the visitor’s book at the Tema Chief’s Palace.
The working visit forms part of a three-day tour of the Greater Accra and parts of the Eastern Region to inspect on-going railway projects.