Port workers inspect one of the three locomotives as they were being off-loaded from the BBC Oder at the Port of Mombasa. The locomotives are expected to help Rift Valley Railways boost efficiency. Photo: Gideon Maundu/Standard
Port workers inspect one of the three locomotives as they were being off-loaded from the BBC Oder at the Port of Mombasa. The locomotives are expected to help Rift Valley Railways boost efficiency. Photo: Gideon Maundu/Standard

The Ministry of Railways development is in the process of awarding a contract for the redevelopment of Railways workshops in the country to enhance the railways sector.

“These workshops which, were once the best in West Africa are now in a deplorable state and we are going to make them the best in Africa once more”.

Mr Joe Ghartey, Minister of Railways Development said this, when he and the British  High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr Iain  Walker, and the UK Prime Minister’s  Trade Envoy to Ghana,  Mr Adams Afriyie ( MP)  interacted with  the railways workers in Sekondi.

 Present were also the Deputy Regional Minister, Mrs Gifty Eugenia Kusi, Mr Andy Appiah-Kubi, Deputy Minister of Railways Development and the regional director of railways.

 Mr Ghartey said government was committed to transforming the railways sector to make it once more the catalyst to transform the nation’s economy.

 The Minister pointed out that successive governments did not pay much attention to the railway sector, but that the current government was determined to support and develop the railway sector into a vibrant one.

He said, “one year on we  have laid a strong  foundation for a take- off, for the first time in  many years the story of  Ghana railways is not laying off workers, it  is the  employment of new workers, railways would create jobs not hundreds but thousands of jobs both direct and indirect”.   

   He  said  to quicken the transformation of the railways  sector , plans were advanced  to revive the  railways training school, noting that”  the railways had a  training school just  like  the Telecom,   but now Telecom has a University but railways  School has collapsed, we shall raise it  from the ashes.

Mr Ghartey announced that British government has offered spaces for some young graduate to take up masters programmes in the UK and that four graduates have applied for the programme and when the pass they would form the nucleus of the people that would be lecturers of the new school.

 On the rail lines, the Minister said very soon, the western rail lines would see a company to begin the standard gauge from Kojokrom, “we are at the last stage of signing the contract and is getting the necessary approvals from the Public Procurement Authority”. 

Mr Ghartey said the rehabilitation works of the Eastern lines would soon commence, which he noted would also create hundreds of jobs.

  The Minister said  he has  also received a report on the recent incident that happened at  Achimota and that  very soon the Ministry  would come-up with a clear timetable on what remedial measures to take, and assured Ghanians that the ministry woulld take safety seriously.

    Mr Walker the British High Commissioner to Ghana who is only three months old in the country  said  he  would focus on the next  60 years of Ghana’s relationship with the UK  and that he  was particularly keen to talk about the future on how to share  values, common interest and  friendship the two counties have developed so far into something that would  help Ghana to make  the next step in her  prosperity and economic development.

Mr Walker said this would help Ghana and the UK to build a common interest as Ghana particularly moves beyond aid , adding “ looking at the government’s agenda for the years ahead particularly the economic development beyond aid, the UK is in the same place and is keen to be part of that”.

He pointed out that infrastructure was key and more so the railways, which he said was literally the back bone would enable Ghana’s future prosperity, unlock, open and speed up the market.

“The UK wants to be a driver and not passengers to ensure that it drives Ghana to its destination beyond aid.”.

Mr Afriyie, whose father is a Ghanaian, said the relationship between Ghana and the UK goes beyond trade and culture and  that more than half a million British were of Ghanaian heritage, adding  “the bond is long , deep and strong ”.

He said the British government recognised Ghana’s struggle to move beyond aid and to be seen as a common and equal partner in trade and said the UK government would support Ghana in that goal.

 He  noted that  Ghana was not only rich in terms of mineral  resources,  oil and gas, but was also  rich in terms of its people and workers, “nowhere else in Africa do we  have such a strong sense of educated workforce , willing ,abled, enthusiastic and enterprising workforce”  and that  the UK  was ready to work with Ghana to ensure the people really enjoyed the advantages of trade.

He said his visit was to make sure where  Ghana  needed  assistance  and  expertise, whether around  investment, railways, mineral exploration, training and  education, the  British government and its businesses stand ready to support Ghana.

GNA/Newsghana.com.gh

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