Ghana’s rail sector urged to detach politics from the issues of the industry
The Minister of Railway Development in Ghana has highlighted the need for the rail industry to focus on the development and opportunities presented, rather than the political agendas ascribed to it.
Joe Ghartey, the Minister of Railway Development in Ghana, has urged stakeholders to avoid politicising issues concerning the sector and rather support the good initiatives aimed at revamping it.
In a speech at the “Railways Revitalization and Sustainable Development: Approach and Opportunities” Ghartey said the Government has put measures into place to revive the once vibrant railway sector through interventions and innovations, which had won investor confidence over the period.
Ghartey said the state of the railways needed passionate national interest rather than dissenting political views.
The railway sector presented lots of opportunities for industrial, social and economic growth, he said, and entreated local investors to begin thinking of concessions along the rails for development: “As a Chamber, you can even initiate a process to develop an industrial park along the lines for business.”
Ghartey said the various reforms and programmes taken under his leadership were geared towards the reactivation of the sector to create more job opportunities for the people.
He explained that the training and learning centres have been updated and upgraded into modern learning centres which will enhance capacity and skills development.
The Sector Minister said the various workshops were rehabilitated to serve the Railway, Mining, Petroleum and Agricultural sectors of the country.
He said the Railway Ministry, since its establishment in February 2017, has transferred a substantial amount from its budget allocation for the payment of projects procured and executed by the Ghana Railway Company Limited from 2017 to August 2019.
As a result of the upgrade, in-house training programmes for staff will be carried out to ensure that staff are updated with the correct skills which make the railways safe and attractive to passengers.
Additionally, the Minister highlighted some of the challenges that the sector faces, namely, squatters and petty traders on the eastern line as well as land acquisition and compensation.
Benjamin Nii Kpani, the Deputy Chief Executive of Sekondi-Takoradi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said diversifying business strategies was key in the competitive business environment. He said investors should consider establishing industries along the rail lines, adding; “We as STCCI might not have much of the resources but can liaise with the chiefs to make sure lands are released for interested members to develop.”