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25.05.2004 Business & Finance

Final Bidding For Railways Conducted

By Charles Benoni Okine
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The final bidding exercise to select a company to maintain and operate railway lines in the country was conducted yesterday by the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC).

Two companies shortlisted to open their financial bids are Spoornet of South Africa and United Rail from the United Kingdom. The result of the exercise is expected to be announced in a week.The Minister of Ports, Harbours and Railways, Professor Christopher Ameyaw-Akumfi, together with some members of Parliament, both from the majority and minority side, was present to witness the opening of the bids.

In his statement, the minister said the final evaluation of the financial capabilities of the two companies would be done, and expressed the hope that the better company would win to take over the operation and maintenance of the railway lines.“I am tasking the committee to do proper due diligence on the bids to ensure that the better bidder wins,” the Minister said.

He mentioned in particular the Accra/Tema lines and indicated that it would ease the difficulties of commuters between the two cities.Professor Ameyaw-Akumfi said the government was determined to look elsewhere for funds to develop other rail networks in the country. "We would ensure that our quest to revive the operations of the railway in the country is fulfilled at all cost", the minister added.

He said there were so many other rail networks in the country that needed attention and indicated that measures would be taken to ensure that the loser of the bid is taken on to consider other areas."The fact that they have reached that far in the bidding process shows that they have some capabilities to handle some of the other projects," Professor Ameyaw-Akumfi said.

Mr Emmanuel Zumakpeh, the MP for Nadowli South, who represented the minority side to witness the process described the exercise as transparent.He expressed the hope that the committee, which is to vet the final documents would do a good job "so that Ghana would be the benefactor in the long run".

Mr Zumakpeh said it would be in the interest of all to ensure that such exercises were often done transparently to avoid speculations which have the tendency to throw a process of that nature out of gear.