The Minister of Railways Development, Joe Ghartey says his outfit has plans to launch a Community-Based Railway Development Project.
Speaking on the floor of Parliament during the ministry’s budgetary estimates approval on Wednesday, he said some of the workers that would be employed will come from the communities that the rail line passes through.
He stated that investment into the sector could attract more than 3 billion dollars, as against the 800 million dollars that came to the oil sector last year, indicating that railway sector can be bigger than the oil sector, if the country can woo potential investors.
Joe Ghartey acknowledged that the railway project would be for local companies in order to create both direct and indirect employment for Ghanaians.
He assured the Deputy Minority Leader Klutse Avedzi, who was worried and urged the sector to try as much as possible to attract investors, that some investors have started showing interest in the railway sector already. This he attributed to the security and how democracy has developed in the country as he cited an instance where an investor commended the presence of three former presidents at the inauguration of Nana Akufo-Addo.
Mr. Joe Ghartey recognized the need for the country to also relook the legal framework for the Railway Sector. For instance, he noted that the Ghana Railway Development Act which was enacted in 2009 created the Ghana Railway Development Authority to serve as the promoter and at the same time regulator of businesses, a situation he described as unfortunate.
“How can the same institution be the developer and the regulator at the same time?” he questioned.
He said looking at the maritime and aviation sectors, it is clear that the developer is different from the regulator, which he said the same thing should happen in the railway sector.
When Onua News asked him how soon the project will commence, he only said the government has a four-year mandate and will deliver that project within that period.
Meanwhile, the house by consensus approved the sum of GHC 518,426,135 as the budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Railways Development for the 2017 fiscal year.
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