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Business News of Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Source: GNA

Five banks support global haulage company to acquire trucks

Accra, July 13, GNA - A consortium of six banks on Wednesday presented 149 tractors, trailers, tippers, cargo trucks and concrete mixers worth $20.8 million to the management of Global Haulage Company Limited in Accra.

The banks are Merchant Bank, Ghana Commercial Bank, National Investment Bank, Intercontinental Bank, Barclays Bank and HFC Bank. Mr Joe Gidisu, Minister of Roads and Highways, in a speech read for him by the Deputy Minister, Dr Nii Quaye-Kumah, said major challenges posed to the development and maintenance of road infrastructure were premature deterioration of the roads especially truck road infrastructure.

"This challenge is exacerbated by the need to haul large quantities of assorted goods usually within a short period by trucks from neighbouring land locked countries," he said. He said a recent study revealed that overloading cost the country about $271 million annually in terms of road rehabilitation, adding that 3.6 per cent of all road accidents were caused by freight vehicle out of which 17 per cent were loaded.

Mr Gidisu said further studies indicated that when the law on axle load limits was complied with, the cost of vehicle operation and maintenance reduced prolonging its life span. "The Ministry will continue to support efforts by any entity towards the achievement of compliance with the axle load limits," he added.

He noted that the Ministry was enforcing the law on axle load limits with monitoring of haulage activities on critical section of the road network.

Mr Gidisu entreated all haulage companies to abide by the law on axle load limits to maintain the road, adding that; 93Roads are very expensive but important assets to the country and its preservation is therefore paramount."

Dr Kwabena Duffuor, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, said the huge facility provided by the banks showed the commitment of financial institutions to support entrepreneurs and businesses in the country.

He said the high growth of agricultural production and other economic activities could not be sustained without adequate and efficient transportation facilities and equipment. Dr Duffuor said good roads and railway system, good warehousing facilities and adequate equipment were required to support the hauling of goods from the producing centres to the markets and ports. He expressed the hope that the trucks and trailers would be used to support the company to transport agricultural produce from the hinterland to urban centres. Dr Duffour observed that the institutions had demonstrated to support government efforts in placing the economy on a high growth rate.

The Financ e Minister urged managements of the banks to review their interest rates because they constituted a big proportion of the operating costs of businesses they supported. He called on them to help nurture university and polytechnic graduates to develop entrepreneurial spirit and provide them with technical advice and financial support for business start-ups. Dr Duffuor appealed to financial institutions to continue to partner government and the private sector to grow and develop the country.

Alhaji Adamu Iddrisu, Board Chairman of Global Haulage Company, expressed appreciation to the banks for their support. He said management as a policy changed their vehicles after every four years due to the nature of the roads in the cocoa producing centres.

Mr Francois-Xavier Thinet, Vice-President of Renault Trucks International, said the company was associating with its local partners to enter the African automobile market. He expressed the hope that when they finally entered the Ghanaian market they would help develop the transportation industry.