President woos Norwegian investors to back Ghana’s railway sector

President Akufo-Addo has urged investors from Norway to consider partnering government to develop a modern railway network in the country.

This follows recent comments by the Minister for Railway Development, John Peter Amewu, to the effect that the government would not be able to construct any sky train in the country in the near future.

The Minister noted that funding for the construction of some of the already started projects is becoming problematic for the government.

But in an address at the Ghana-Norway business and investment forum in Accra, President Akufo-Addo noted that his government is embarking on an aggressive program to attract the needed investment to develop the railway and road infrastructure needed in the country.

“We are hopeful that with solid private sector participation, we can develop a modern railway network with strong production centre linkages and with a potential to connect us with our neighbours.”

“Members of the Norwegian business community, you can choose to invest in Ghana through the GIPC or set up as a free zones enterprise, regardless of where the investment is, the government has instituted a number of fiscal incentives for the investor depending on the nature of the activity or the location of the investment. I want us to build a stronger Ghana-Norway relationship for the benefit of our respective shareholders,” he added.

‘There won’t be any sky train in Ghana, it’s not possible’ – Amewu

The Minister for Railway Development, John Peter Amewu, has said the government would not be able to construct any sky train in the country.

According to him, it is not possible to do so.

In November 2019, the government through the then Minister for the sector, Joe Ghartey, signed an agreement for the construction of the Accra SkyTrain Project on the sidelines of the African Investment Forum in South Africa.

The proposed initiative in Accra provides for the development of five routes, four of which are comprised of radial routes that originate at the proposed SkyTrain Terminal, at the heart of Accra, at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, and one route that provides an intra-city commuter loop distribution service, also emanating from Circle.

The project envisaged a total track length across all routes of 194 kilometres.

Subsequently, the management of the Ghana Railway Development Authority disclosed that feasibility studies on the proposed sky-train project in Accra had been completed.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Authority, Richard Diedong Dombo assured that government will begin implementation of the project after scrutinizing the report it has received.

“The sky trains are on an elevator platform rather than underground. They will be running on platforms over the city of Accra. It will be a community train and not an intercity one. At the moment, the feasibility studies have been completed and it is being studied before the contract is signed,” he said in a Citi News interview.

However, speaking on Citi TV’s Face to Face programme on Tuesday, November 23, 2021, the current sector minister, John Peter Amewu said the government would not go ahead with the sky train project.

According to him, the government cannot fund the project because it is capital intensive.

“The sky train that we are talking about is the one that is going to run on columns in the sky like the ones you see in Dubai but no agreement has been signed.”

“It is not possible to be done now. I don’t see any sky train being done in the next 3-4 years. There is not going to be any Sky train in the country. It is not possible.”

He also added that funding for the construction of some of the already started projects is becoming problematic for the government.

“Rail construction takes a lot of time and it is also capital intensive. A kilometre of a railway line is about four to five times the cost of building a concrete infrastructure in terms of building an asphaltic road.”

“So considering the fiscal space that we have in the country, facilities to absorb it is becoming problematic for the government and you know our current debt to GDP which is in excess of 70%.”

Source: Citi Newsroom

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