The government is to commit $1 billion into the development of the railway sector in the country, the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has stated.
He said $500 million of the amount would be used to develop the Western rail line, while the rest would be committed to the construction of the first phase of the Kumasi-Paga section of a national rail network.
The President stated this during the presentation of the State of the Nation Address in Parliament last Thursday.
He, however, indicated that “If we want the railways to work, we all have to take interest in the sector and stop the activities of encroachers on railway lands.”
According to President Akufo-Addo, it was due to activities of such trespassers that “The opening of the Accra/Nsawam line has been postponed, because sand winners have undermined the ground underneath the track near Pokuase.
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It is now being repaired, and the service will start hopefully by the end of February.”
The President, however, stated that “I am glad to be able to report that the Accra to Tema railway service has started running on the refurbished line.”
He said rehabilitation of a narrow-gauge line would continue from Nsawam to Koforidua, adding that, work was also ongoing on the Kojokrom/Tarkwa section of the Western line and the standard gauge section from Kojokrom to Manso.
The President added that, the development of Tema/Ouagadougou railway line was also progressing steadily and that 12 shortlisted companies were now going through procurement processes.
“This year, land acquisition will commence beyond the Volta River at Mpakadan and a strategic investor will be selected for the project.
To sum it up, the railways are coming in a big way to open up our country for the development that we all desire,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo further expressed worry that “Our internal and international roads leading to our neighbouring countries have been in a dreadful state for a long time.”
He said it was a great relief to him that Ghana had been able to sign an agreement with a Chinese company, SinoHydro, to begin work on some selected roads in the country while efforts were made to fix the rest.
In the area of aviation, the President said operations at the Kumasi, Tamale and Takoradi airports had been revamped with the introduction of new domestic airlines such as Unity Air and Passion Air.
He also hinted that soon “The Flag of Ghana will be flown again as we have identified strategic investors to launch a home-based carrier.
“While we embark on the protracted processes of building roads and railways to open up our country, we are doing so with modern technology,” President added.
He also observed that mobile telephony had now covered the entire country while broadband internet connectivity was available in many places.
“There are 1,200,000 registered and verified addresses through the National Digital Property Addressing System.
In other words, we have joined the modern world and are gradually leaving the right turn at the blue kiosk and opposite the Kofi-broke-man seller behind us”, the President said.