General News of Thursday, 14 February 2008
Accra, Feb. 14, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Thursday announced that 90 million dollars of proceeds from the Euro-Bond was being used as leverage with a consortium to rehabilitate the rail network, which had not been seen rehabilitation for the better part of the last century.
He said the plan was to extend the network all the way to the northern part of the country to generate thousands of jobs across the country and also revive some of the old railway towns. President Kufuor, who was delivering his last State of the Nation address to Parliament, appealed to squatters along the railway line to make arrangements to relocate before construction commenced. On ports and harbours, President Kufuor said both Tema and Takoradi ports were undergoing various forms of rehabilitation to either modernise or expand their facilities.
"Partly due to this, the volume of freight with sister landlocked countries in the Sahel region has increased immensely." He said Government intended to make the country's sea ports the preferred entry port in the ECOWAS sub-region.
On the aviation sector, President Kufuor said three regional airports in Takoradi, Tamale and Kumasi had been upgraded to enable them to cope with bigger aircraft and flights around the clock. That, he said, was made possible by the hosting of the just-ended Ghana 2008 football tournament.
"Customs and immigration services are also available to support international flights. During Ghana 2008, Tamale and Kumasi received eight and 10 direct international flights respectively, while Takoradi received 14 through Kotoka International Airport," he said. President Kufuor speaking on telecommunication, said government was endeavouring to make information and communication technology available to large sections of the society.
He said the National Communications Backbone Infrastructure Network was being pursued vigorously to provide open access broadband connectivity.
"Through this, all Senior High Schools are being connected to the system to facilitate distance education programmes. Again, all sectors of our society including commerce, agriculture, health, and government will access information speedily for decision-making," President Kufuor said.
"Government is also promoting a competitive telecom market to ensure fair play among the operators and higher quality and more affordable service delivery to the people. The importance of this is spreading information all over and introducing uniformity of standards and values," he added.