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23.04.2004 General News

Govt would not tolerate acts to collapse Metro Mass Transport - Kufuor

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Accra, April 23, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Friday warned that the Government would not tolerate any acts or industrial action that would collapse the Metro Mass Transport Project.

He said, " if the management and staff work diligently for the system to operate effectively and efficiently, government would provide all the needed assistance, but if they indulge in any acts or industrial action to derail the system, the Government would deal with them".

President Kufuor gave the warning when inaugurating 36 out of the 250 buses imported from China for the Metro Mass Transit Company Limited incorporated in March last year under the Government's Metro Mass Transport Project in Accra.

About 14 buses with a sitting capacity of 100 and the Double Decker with a sitting capacity of 150 are expected by the end of the month to complete the first batch of 50 and the remaining 200 before the end of the year for the Company.

The Company is a joint collaborative effort between the Ministries of Roads and Transport and the Local Government and Rural development that owns about 45 per cent of the shares on behalf of the Government and four financial institutions own the remaining 55 per cent shares.

They are the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), the National Investment Bank (NIB), the State Insurance Company (SIC) and the Prudential Bank.

President Kufuor said in addition, the Government was expecting another batch of 250 buses with a sitting capacity of 100 from Holland making a total of 500 buses expected in Ghana to augment the 17 buses donated to Ghana by the Italian Government on October 28, 2002. He said the Government would ensure there were adequate buses to begin and stabilise the project to serve all Ghanaians to go about daily chores without any hindrance.

President Kufuor said the Government on assumption of office was determined to revive and resuscitate the mass transport system that had collapsed.

He therefore, asked the management and other personnel of the Company to keep an eagle's eye on the operations of the buses and the fares made affordable to the people to improve on their economic activities for the economy to grow.

President Kufuor urged them to renew their commitment to guard the state property that had been trusted in their care because the State and the Government would not tolerate any malpractices in their operations. Mr Zhang Keyuan, Chinese Ambassador in Ghana, appealed to the drivers especially to take very good care of the buses to prolong their life-span in order to achieve the objectives of the project.

Dr Richard Winfred Anane, Minister of Roads and Transport said the Company now operates 176 out of 209 buses donated by the Italian Government and 75 out of 100 DAF/NEOPLAN buses imported under the Dutch Government Concessionary Financing.

He said the buses were being imported with spare parts backing of 10 per cent of the total cost of the buses to ensure the availability of spare parts to service the buses.

In addition, technicians from the bus manufacturing Company, Yangzhou Yaxing Motor Coach Company Limited are also in Ghana to train the Company's mechanics in the effective servicing of the buses. Dr Anane said plans were also far advanced for the establishment of a service centre by the manufacturers of the buses to ensure that all problems relating to the servicing and repair of the buses were dealt with effectively.

He announced that the Company would also take delivery of a further 100 DAF/NEOPLAN buses during the year under the Dutch Government Concessionary Financing in addition to the Netherland Government's readiness to support the supply of additional 150 buses.

The Minister of Roads and Transport said measures were being put in place to ensure sustainable management and operations of the Company in order that it would suffer the same fate of the Omnnibus Services Authority (OSA) Transport Limited.