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27.04.2005 Business & Finance

United Rail Unperturbed - Burrow

By Chronicle

The Chief Executive Officer of United Rail Company, Mr. Matthew Burrow, has said in spite of criticism by a section of the Ghanaian media, they are still interested in the rail sector in the country.

The United Railway Chief Executive disclosed this to the media in Accra yesterday, after his return to the country at the head of a five-member delegation, to hold discussions with the government, aimed at finalizing their negotiations.

Mr. Burrow explained some of the issues that had been raised in the media on the authenticity of the company, its shareholders, as well as its ability to raise funds to help Ghana's railway sector.

He revealed that there have been threats on his life by a group called the Ghana Association of Engineers, based in the UK, which they had reported to the police in UK, who are investigating. He added that in Ghana they have been given maximum security.

On the threats he said, "This will be disturbing to investors to Ghana if threats are issued to investors."

Later in an interview with The Business Chronicle, Mr. Burrow said following negotiations with the government last month, some modality of the negotiations had to change.

He pointed out that after leaving for a while, they are back to advance the negotiations and hope better conclusions would be reached in the near future.

According to him despite the negative interpretation by some members of the public, and some of the threats against him, they are prepared to continue with the negotiations.

He pointed out that the whole process of the concession has been done transparently and is being done under the World Bank, and the government has retained some consultants from Canada.

Mr. Burrow said, he was not worried about the issue of authenticity of his company, because he knows the company exists, "United Rail is the entity which will take over the Ghana Railways. It is registered in Ghana and is going to be the railway which will manage the railway system in Ghana," he told The Business Chronicle.

He said his company is active in the UK, and has managed the railways for so many years, and they have capital to invest and to make sure this project is a real success.

He indicated that United Rail Company is made up of three companies: Railroad Development Corporation, Holdtrade Limited, and Trackped Company.

Mr. Bruce said the shareholders of the company are Trackped, 50% and Holdtrade UK Limited, 50%.

He pointed out that they are in consortium with Railway Development Corporation, which currently operates in seven railway companies around the world, including railways in USA, Malawi, and some European countries.

The united Rail CEO said the negotiations with government would take months because the government will have a lot of work to do.

In another interview with the president of Railroad Development Corporation, Mr. Robert A. Pietrandrea, he noted that the rehabilitation of the railway system in the country means that tracks would be brought up from their present weak state to a considerably good one, to enable for example, safe haulage of bauxite ore from Awaso to the Takoradi Port.

He added that after the rehabilitation exercise, it is believed that rampant derailments being experienced would be reduced considerably.

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