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Business News of Tuesday, 7 November 2006

Source: GNA

Parliament approves loans for more MMT buses

Accra, Nov. 7, GNA - Parliament on Tuesday approved a loan of 25.450 million Euro agreement between Ghana and VDL Jonckheere Bus and Coach N.V. Roeselare, Belgium for the supply of 150 buses and spares to improve public transportation.

The terms and conditions of the loan are that 24.450 million Euro would cover the principal for 150 buses and one million Euro would cater for spare parts.

There would be after sales service under which VDL Bus International B.V., the manufacturers of the chassis would give support to the repair and maintenance of the buses with an expatriate engineer who is already working with Metro Mass Transport (MMT) in Ghana.

Presenting the Finance Committee Report on the loan, Mr. Kwadwo Agyei-Addo, Vice Chairman said there was the need to procure more buses to fill the growing demand for the services being provided by the MMT. He said the current fleet of buses could not meet the demand and there was the need also to procure spare parts to strengthen the maintenance programme, which was considered crucial and relevant. Both the Majority and the Minority sides were unanimous on the loan Mr Kojo Opare-Hammond, NPP-Adenta said the MMT buses had facilitated the movement of many people in the cities and it had become necessary to purchase more of them to extend their services to where they are mostly needed.

He called for better traffic management at the Tetteh-Quarshie inter-change and asked the Urban Roads Department to create a parking space to make it comfortable for passengers to get on and off the buses. He said it was about time bus lanes were created to make movement faster for the buses.

Mr Charles Hodogbey, NDC North Tongu underscored the need for factoring spare parts in importing buses and also the need to consider if their countries of origin could regularly supply spare parts. Dr Richard Anane, former Minister for Transportation and MP for Nhyiaeso said about 40 million people benefited from the use of MMT in 2005.

Also 60 million people have so far used the buses this year, which implied that at least every Ghanaian have used them three times this year.

He said four million school children had used the buses, which were available in all the regional capitals free of charge from February to September this year.

Dr Anane endorsed the approval of the loan, which, he said, would make buses available to enhance productivity.

Another loan agreement of 14.417 million Euro between Ghana and Cmmerzbank AG, Brussels Branch, Belgium to finance the purchase of 75 commuter buses and spare parts from VDL Jonckheere Bus and Coach N.V. of Belgium was also approved.

The House also approved a loan agreement of 13 million US dollars between the Ghana and the Stanbic Bank Ghana Limited for the procurement equipment and services for the Ghana Police and Prison Services from Paramount Logistics Corporation Limited of South Africa. 07 Nov. 06