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Regional News of Thursday, 6 August 2020

Source: GNA

Coronavirus will not delay Tema-Mpakadan rail project - Contractor

AFCONS Infrastructure Limited, the Tema-Mpakadan Railway Project contractor, has assured the government that the COVID-19 pandemic will not delay the completion of the project.

So far, 65 out of the 97-kilometre project has been completed.

Mr Udai Veer Singh, the Vice President of AFCONS Infrastructure Limited, gave the assurance at Old Akrade on Wednesday when President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo inspected the construction of a bridge across the Volta River and Tema-Mpakadan Rail Project.

Mr Singh said though the Covid-19 pandemic had slowed down construction works for three months, it was not peculiar to Ghana, therefore, it should not be an excuse to delay the project.

Mr Singh said 10 more kilometres of the project would be completed in the coming months.

The contract for Tema-Mpakadan, initially Tema-Akosombo rail project, was signed on November 18, 2016.

The project started in July 2018 with an estimated three-year period for completion.

The Sector Minister, Mr Joe Ghartey, who led President Akufo-Addo to inspect the ongoing project, thanked the contractors for carrying out a "significant" work on the tracks.

Recounting his tour of the rail project a year ago, President Akufo-Addo said: "Significant advances had been made."

He said the AFCONS group’s assurance on the scheduled completion of the project was the most comforting statement he had heard.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Railways Development Authority, Mr Richard Diedong Dombo, gave the assurance that the project would be completed by March, 2021.

The project was conceived as a port-to-port project in 2007 under former President Kufuor's Administration, where a contract was signed for feasibility studies to be conducted for a Tema to Buipe multimodal transport system via Akosombo.

In furtherance of that, in November 2016, an agreement was approved by Parliament for the construction of the Tema to Akosombo rail-line.

Mr Ghartey, giving a brief history of the project, said upon assumption of office in January 2017, the Akufo-Addo Government, through Parliament, approved an agreement to review the construction of the rail line.

Government cited reasons for the review of the project including a possible effect on the Akosombo Dam because it involved drilling a tunnel through rock to the Akosombo Port.

Also, the tunnel was only going to be 60 metres away from the Akosombo Dam at one point.

The completion of the project would create economic activities along the rail lines, he said.

Mr Ghartey said the Paga Rail project had started, noting that it was only under the Akufo-Addo led Government that a standard gauge railway line had been constructed in the country.

He said re-electing President Akufo-Addo would lead to massive development in the railway sector.

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