Government is committing an amount of US$1 billion to augment ongoing development in the railway sector.
The amount would be shared equally in two folds; US$500 million will be applied in the development of the Western Railway network while the other half will be applied to the Kumasi to Paga section of the railway network.
The figure committed represents about 12.5 percent of the total facility needed to rehabilitate the entire railway network in the country as estimations are that more than US$8 billion is needed to rejuvenate the sector to fully resuscitate trading activities and enhance movement of goods and services.
Redevelopment of the Western Railway lines alone is estimated to cost over US$1 billion. The area stretches from Takoradi to Kumasi; including a branch line from Dunkwa-on-Offin in the Central Region to Awaso in the Western North Region.
Speaking during the State of the Nation Address yesterday, President Akufo-Addo said plans are far advanced to commit extra funds into the development of existing lines, notably from Nsawam to Koforidua through to Kumasi to boost trading activities in the sector as well as the construction of new railway lines.
However, he did not provide details as to the sources of financing for the project. Instructively financing has been the primary obstacle to successive administrations aspirations with regards to railway development.
Government has set a two-year agenda to revamp the railway sector including the Western corridor rail line linking neighbouring Ivory Coast.
Some technocrats in the sector have however raised doubts as to how feasible it would be to construct over 500 kilometres of rail network in less than two years, even if financing is in place.
The development agenda
It is anticipated that by the end of 2020, construction and renovation of existing facilities would have been at an advanced enough stage to commission them.
Under the 2020 transformation agenda, it is expected that there will be construction of a 339-kilometre railway line under the Western corridor project linking Takoradi and Kumasi, as well as 218 kilometres of railway line under the Eastern corridor project.
By Dundas Whigham