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01.04.2004 Business & Finance

Bids Open For Rehabilitation Of Rail Network

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Ghana's railway network, which over the years has not seen any major investment, is to be revamped, with the opening in Accra yesterday of bids for its rehabilitation and management.

Three companies, United Rail, Railnet, both of the United Kingdom, and Spoornet of South Africa, were the only firms to submit bids for the granting of concession by the government to rehabilitate and manage the country's rail system.

Consultants have put the estimated cost of the rehabilitation of the railway system at between $150 million and $250 million.Representatives of the three companies, officials of the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC), led by its chairman, Mr C. O. Nyarnor, and the Minister of Railways, Ports and Harbours, Professor Christopher Ameyaw-Akumfi, attended the function to witness the beginning of the restoration of life into the railway network.

Speaking shortly after the opening of the bids, Prof Ameyaw-Akumfi expressed the hope that rehabilitation works would start by the close of the year.He said the government attached great importance to the revival of the railway system and was, therefore, keen on getting work started.He said the submission of bids by the companies demonstrated the degree of confidence investors have in the economy.

Prof. Ameyaw-Ekumfi said government has plans to extend the rail network and, this offers opportunities for the winning company and the others to invest in.

He said the public would be duly informed of the selected company and that due to the importance of the project to the economy, the report of the evaluating team would be submitted to the DIC, the ministry and the Central Tender Board to ensure that the best company was selected.

Prof. Ameyaw-Ekumfi said the government was also in the process of streamlining the legislative framework to support whichever company that would be selected to rehabilitate and manage the system.He said a Ghana Railway Authority would be set up to supervise the operations of the company to be chosen so that it would not abuse the system.

He said as part of the package, a minimum of 2,000 of the existing 3,000 workers would be engaged by the new company.

Prof. Ameyaw-Ekumfi said those whose services would be dispensed off, would benefit from a retrenchment package.

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