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11.02.2005 General News

Railways To Be Revitalized - Prof Ameyaw-Akumfi

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Professor Christopher Ameyaw-Akumfi, Ghana's Minister for Harbours and Railways, said yesterday that the Ghana Railways Company (GRC) must be resurrected to play its effective role in the transportation industry.

"The company is beset with industrial difficulties and must be rehabilitated to ensure that it becomes a critical component for our economic growth especially in the transport sector", he said.

Prof Ameyaw-Akumfi spoke to the Ghana News Agency after a courtesy call on him by the India High Commissioner Mr Kaikhorsrou K. Framyi to discuss efforts to resuscitate the rail industry. He said the industry needed the injection of both logistical and human resources to revamp its operations and that "with the right motivation for the management and workers, the Company could be put back on track to perform its role in the economy."

He said the ministry would embark on a pragmatic programme to transform the company to the demands of the transport sector through efficient and reliable services. ''There is the need therefore to re-engineer and re-orientate the railway system to operate as much as possible without government subvention,'' Prof Ameyaw-Akumfi stated.

Interacting with the India High Commissioner, Prof Ameyaw-Akumfi said the government aimed at transforming the Ghana Railways from its current fragmented, unprofitable state into a focused, profitable commercial enterprise, that was market driven and service-oriented.

He explained that there would be the need to concession the railway and that would be done after a national workshop of stakeholders. The concessionaire will be required to inject capital, improve productivity and quality of service at a competitive price and lower cost to the economy.

The government, he said, was also working on recommendations for other operational areas such as mass rail service in urban centres, international freight services as well as link to strategic trade centres.

Prof Ameyaw-Akumfi commended the India Government for the tremendous interest it has shown in the Ghana Railways and its preparedness to cooperate for the benefit of the two nations.

Mr Framji said efforts were afoot to link up Ghana Railways with Rites and Ricon Railways Companies of India, for cooperation. He said India would continue to share its vast experience in the rail sector with Ghana as well as offer ideas for private sector participation in the industry in Ghana.

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