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Business News of Thursday, 17 November 2016

Source: citifmonline.com

GPHA to take control of railway sector – Mahama

President John Mahama says his government is considering making Ghana’s Railway sector a subsidiary of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority.

This is in government’s bid to coordinate activities in the transport sector.

To this end, the government is seeking to amend the current legislation establishing the Ghana Railway Authority and its role in facilitating the movement of goods and persons via efficient rail infrastructure.

“It is my intention to begin the process of amending our legislation covering the railway sector to create a new Ghana Railway company as a subsidiary of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA),” President Mahama stated.
Mr. Mahama was speaking at the sod cutting ceremony for the Tema Port expansion project on Wednesday.

The port expansion project which will increase the capacity of the Tema port in the handling of cargo, will also require similar infrastructure such as roads and railway network to facilitate movements to and from the site.

Though Ghana’s railway sector in the past served as a very important link between the two ports in Tema and Takoradi, the industry has been defunct for some time now over management challenges.

The development has also culminated in workers threatening several strikes over non-payment of salaries.

But President Mahama who is expected to commission the first phase of the Western Rail infrastructure project in the Western region in the coming weeks, is optimistic of a revamp in the railway sector in the short to medium term.

President lauds GPHA for self-financing project

Meanwhile the President has highly commended the management of the GPHA for its ability to fund the expansion of the Tema port on the company’s own balance sheet.

“Government has no contribution or financial liability in respect of this project; the entire financing has been by the GPHA and its partners, Meridian Port Services (MPS),” Mr. Mahama remarked.

Furthermore, President John Mahama is highly confident that the completion of the Tema Port expansion project will culminate in government’s objective of improving Ghana’s Maritime industry.

This he said will attract other maritime services from across the sub region.
“The Authority will be responsible for the navigation of vessels, pilotage, stowage and overall security of the container terminal. Unlike the past that the GPHA used to depend on government subvention and sovereign guarantees, the Authority has overtime developed the financial muscle to contract loans on its own balance sheet to develop the relevant infrastructure and develop sustain the Maritime industry.”

The Tema Port expansion project is expected to be completed in four years with the first phase completed in two years’ time.

The cost of 1.5 billion dollars is a partnership between the GPHA and Meridian Port Services (MPS).