Finance Minister of Ghana, Ken Ofori Atta, is hopeful the railway sector will begin to show signs of recovery after several years of setback.
According to him, development of railway infrastructure across the country is nearing completion for the sector to be relaunched.
“We are confident, 2019 will witness the relaunch of the railway system in Ghana after some 50 years of inactivity,” Mr Ofori Atta said when he presented government’s fiscal plan to Parliament . The 2019 budget, he announced, is themed “A stronger economy for jobs and prosperity.”
“Government, in 2018, commenced the rehabilitation of the existing 56 km narrow gauge line from Kojokrom to Tarkwa through Nsuta corridor to restore passenger rail and freight services for the first time since 2007. This will be completed in 2019,” he added.
The Finance Minister further added that work also commenced on rehabilitation works on the 70.8km narrow gauge sections of the Eastern Railway Line from Accra to Nsawam and Accra to Tema.
Work on the Achimota to Tema section, he stated, is 90% complete, and work on the Achimota to Accra Central and Achimota to Nsawam lines is expected to be completed by the end of 2018. Rehabilitation will continue to Koforidua in 2019, he added.
With regard to the proposed 596km Greenfield Railway Line from Kumasi to Paga, popularly known as the Central Spine, Mr Ofori Atta disclosed that the feasibility studies have already been undertaken. He said the Phase 1 from Kumasi to Buipe section will commence in 2019.
He also announced the commencement of feasibility studies on some rail links on a build, operate and transfer (BOT) basis. It includes between the Tema Port and Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, Burkina Faso, development of Metro/Light Rail Transit Systems in Accra and Kumasi such as the recently signed Accra Sky Train project.
It also includes the Trans-ECOWAS line from Aflao through Cape Coast to Elubo and the re-development of the Central Line from Kotoku in the Greater Accra Region to Huni Valley in the Western Region.
The Railway Location Workshop at Essikado, he said, is being modernised and equipped and will be completed in 2019 to become a one-stop workshop to serve the railway, mining, petroleum and agricultural industries.