Takoradi, Nov. 12 GNA - 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