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25.01.2005 Business & Finance

Permanent body to oversee clearance of goods from ports

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Accra, Jan. 25, GNA - Professor Christopher Ameyaw-Akumfi, Minister-Designate for the Ministry of Harbours and Railways, on Tuesday said a permanent body would be set up to assist in the operations of the ports as part of moves to facilitate the clearance of goods.

He said an ad-hoc committee had been set up to look into the difficulties in the clearing of goods at the ports and soon the committee would be transformed into a permanent body to sort out these problems.

Prof. Ameyaw-Akumfi said these when he took his turn before the Appointments Committee of Parliament.

He said some work would be conducted on the Tarkoradi Harbour to bring it up to the level of the Tema Port to facilitate the export and import of goods.

On transparency in the awards of contract by the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, the Minster-Designate said the Ministry would have to move to the ground to monitor how tender processes were being executed.

He said there were moves to revamp the rail system and soon a committee would be meeting with two companies, one of which would be selected to begin the railway rehabilitation process. Work, he said had begun on the Accra-Tema section of the railway but there was a break at the Batsona section, which would be sorted out for work to continue.

In answer to a question as to why some workers of the Railway Corporation were still being paid although they were not doing any work, the Minister-Designate said a report had indicated that 42 million dollars would be needed to carry out a retrenchment exercise, and this was not immediately available.

He said although something was being done to lay off a large section of the over 3,000 workers of the Corporation, the social implications would have to be taken into account.

On plans to extend railway to the northern part of the country, he said a feasibility study had been conducted and a joint proposal had been prepared by Ghana and Burkina Faso on the project.

He said the proposal had been forwarded to the African Development Bank for a five million dollar facility for detailed studies on the extension of rail lines to the north.

Prof Ameyaw-Akumfi said the studies would serve as a guide for the execution of the project.

On his former position as Minister of Education, Prof. Ameyaw-Akumfi mentioned infrastructural development, increases in supplies of textbooks and the removal of ghost names from the pay roll as some successes chalked during his term.

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