Government is to value and hand over to a special purpose vehicle all lands and assets held in trust for the people of Ghana by the Ghana Railway Development Authority (GRDA) which currently are not being used for any economic activity.
The move, according to the Minister for Railway Development, Mr Joe Ghartey, is in line with the strategy of government to go beyond the benefits of the railway network to include the ‘economic corridors’ of the lines.
The Accra Railway Station with its vast land space has not been utilised optimally with traders virtually taking over the facility.
But speaking to the prospects of the railway industry in Ghana on the side-lines of the Ghana Investment Summit in the United Kingdom, the Minister disclosed plans to turn around what he described as the ‘dead capital’ of the nation’s railway sector.
“We are working with one of UK’s top architectural firms to build an iconic station for Accra which will be a mixed development station, with an investment value of between US$400 million and US$500 million.”
The Accra Railway station is a major part of the Eastern Line which runs from the Tema Port through Accra to Kumasi. Current development will extend the line from Tema to Akosombo.
Stressing on how critical the rail project was to the country, Ghartey disclosed that with the expansion of the Tema Port, expected to be the biggest in Africa upon completion, and the projected increased cargo movement, researchers say, no vehicle can move in and out of the Port by 2020 if rail is not connected to the Tema Port.
He said critical attention was being paid to some of the lines, which are economically viable, making the case that 25 percent of internal cargo goes into Kumasi and its environs which demonstrates availability of passenger and freight to sustain the line.
The Minister said the concept for the projects will be on a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis and assured that all companies bidding for the various projects have Ghanaian firms as partners, a consideration which he deems very important.
He announced that transaction advisors, Price Waterhouse Coopers, have indicated the possibility of commencing construction of the Eastern Line by the third quarter of the year.
By Godfred Tawiah Gogo