Takoradi, Nana Kobina Nketsia V, the Paramount Chief of Essikado Traditional Council, has said revamping the Railway sector must be done concurrently with the revival of communities along the said rail lines to ensure effective socio-economic participation.
He pointed out that the current designs for the sector must also be devoid of any traits of colonialism and called for selflessness and dedication to duty on the part of stakeholders to revitalize the once vibrant industry.
Nana Nketsia V said this at the first annual public lectures organized by the Sekondi -Takoradi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (STCCI) on the topic “Revitalization of the railway sector: Impact and Implications for the Port of the Twin City, Western Region and Ghana “.
The Paramount Chief of Essikado said, we need to create facilities and industries along the rails to add value to the many raw materials from the hither lands before they are exported into other countries.
According to him in advance countries, the port was locally owned by the cities they were located in but wondered why there were so many authorities controlling the various ports in the country and not in the cities they were located.
Nana Nketsia V said the Port and the Railways have strong linkages and that much could only be achieved with the expansion of the current 339 kilometers inherited from the colonial masters.
Mr. Peter Bediako, Deputy Director of Marketing and Public Relations of the Takoradi Port, noted the significant contributions the rail sector continued to make towards export in some West African Countries, adding, Ghana is lagging behind.
Mr. Anthony K. K. Sam, the MCE, said the government was committed to transforming both the local and national economy through the railways, This will in turn result in numerous positive impacts, where the standards of living of our citizens are expected to improve greatly.
He said the collapse of the sector had had a negative toll on virtually all sectors of the local economy adding, I vividly recollect growing up at Nkotompo community where commuters easily accessed train services… while bauxite, manganese, logs and other agricultural goods were carted to the Takoradi Port by train which relieved the pressure on the road.
The MCE said the advocacy for revamping the sector was therefore paramount, noting that the re-establishment of the railway industry would be the fulcrum around which Sekondi/Takoradi and the Region would revolve.
Currently the Ministry of Railway Development require close to 21 billion dollars to complete the 4,007.6 kilometer projection to the existing 339 kilometers.
Mr. Joe Ghartey, Sector Minister, said a total of 1394 kilometres had been identified as priority projects to be constructed within the next four years.
He said the priority projects when completed would create a good number of jobs and facilitate trade and industrial development as well as stimulate economic growthnew towns and cities would be developed and other older towns revitalized.
Mr. Ghartey said the Ministry as part of the Master Plan would construct new lines of standard gauge along the lines aforementioned to take care of increased traffic and to modernize the rail network in those areas.
The Sector Minister said the impact and implications for the Western Region, Sekondi/Takoradi and the rail lines towns were enormous, I therefore call on the people of the Western Region to rise up to the occasion and embrace the new wave of development that is envisaged in the railway sector.
Mr. Ato Van-Ess, Chairman of the STCCI, said the annual lecture on the subject was essential and necessary to come up with practical strategies to improve the lives of the people and ensure human security in the Region and country at large.
He said the STCCI made the decision to advocate the revitalization of the railway system in Ghana as a significant step in making the Region the growth pole of the country.
The STCCI Chairman said the Chamber would continue to partners government and the Ministry to ensure the successfully implementation of the master plan.
Source: Ghana News Agency