> Boost For Inter-City Transport - Prez Inaugurates 250 New Buses For GPRTU, Others
The President, Mr J.A. Kufuor, yesterday launched the Private Sector Fleet Renewal Project with the inauguration of 250 new buses for private road transport operators.
The project, a private-public venture initiative, is intended to improve the capacity of the private sector transport industry and increase the fleet of buses for the provision of reliable, safe and affordable inter-city transport services for the public.
The collaborators of the project are the Yutong Company of China, J. A. Plant Pool, the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), the Intercontinental Bank, the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) and the Ministry of Transportation.
The beneficiaries of the 250 buses, which cost $11 million, are expected to repay the amount over a three-year period, with a three-month moratorium.
Of the 250 buses, 175 have the capacity to seat 51 passengers each, while the remaining 75 can each seat 33. All of them are air-conditioned, have video facilities and seat belts for the comfort and safety of passengers.
Already, Ghanaian technicians have been trained to repair the buses in case they develop faults, and as part of the sale agreement their spare parts would be made available by the Chinese company.
There are also plans to set up a plant to assemble the buses in Ghana in the future.
Launching the project at the Independence Square in Accra, President Kufuor said Ghana was on the threshold of an economic and industrial take-off and asked the public to be fully aware of that opportunity and be determined to hasten the process.
Such a new economic platform, he said, enjoined Ghanaians to improve on their work ethics and general discipline, since these were the ingredients of productivity, without which investments would fail.
The President assured the country's development partners that it was open to all genuine investors whose goal was to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes on investment.
He said the buses had been made to the country's specifications and asked the owners and drivers to appreciate that and handle them well to derive good returns on the investment.
The Minister of Transportation, Dr Richard Anane, pledged the ministry's support for such ventures to improve the transportation situation in the country.
He called on transport service operators to provide safe, efficient and affordable services for travellers.
The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the ADB, Mr Paul Koranteng, said the bank participated in the Metro Mass Transit business and had decided to be of service to private road transport operators by involving itself in financing the purchase and distribution of the 250 buses.
He said the bank would provide banking services for the beneficiaries and expressed the hope that they would meet their repayment obligations promptly.
A representative of the Intercontinental Bank Ghana Limited, Mr Lulu Akindele, said with the Private Sector Fleet Renewal Project, the government had demonstrated its concern for the safety and comfort of passengers, saying the bank was proud to be part of the project.
Story by Nehemia Owusu Achiaw
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